Sunday in Outer Blogness: Still not OK edition!

So, the reason I didn’t get SiOB done yesterday is explained in this helpful comic. I was thinking that rounding up this past week’s Mormon discussion would distract me from our current crisis of democracy, but it appears that the LDS-interest bloggers are also still talking about the election.

Well, a few people talked about some other topics:

In good news, the CoJCoL-dS has discontinued use of the infamous “little factories” pamphlet.

There was also a new infographic inspired by one of the essays, and Zina responded to an article about Satan telling a woman she’s not pretty.

Then there were a couple of interesting exit stories and a letter from a young Mormon just came out as transgender. Additionally, you may have seen some drama recently on the exmo reddit — here’s the explanation.

Good luck to all — let’s see what next week will bring!

Thoughts on RFRAs and Nondiscrimination

Renewed interest in Religious Freedom Restoration Acts (e.g., Indiana, Arkansas) has arisen because everyone knows the US Supreme Court will okay gay marriage for the country in a few months. Conservative religious people and entities want to be in a comfortable position when this uncomfortable reality hits — they want to still feel like this is “their” country, too. For example, the LDS Church’s push for compromise in Utah, which lead to last month’s nondiscrimination bill with religious exemptions, was likely timed to settle the Utah battlefield so that once the Supreme Court ruling is issued, the Church Newsroom can basically convey measured disappointment yet assurance that the Church’s legal and cultural boundaries are still largely in tact.

Other parts of the country are having trouble creating compromise because conservative legislatures have said “no” to nondiscrimination laws such that RFRAs appear as mere wholesale licenses to discriminate. In fact, without nondiscrimination laws, a right to discriminate is already present anyway, so a RFRA is not necessary — it’s symbolic. The symbolism (AKA legal ambiguity) gives the impression of the state codifying particular religious beliefs even as RFRA supporters argue that they are actually protecting themselves from a “state religion” of nondiscrimination (e.g., upcoming national gay marriage).

The idea that gay families are morally neutral could arguably qualify as a kind of “belief,” as illustrated by this libertarian cartoon:

When a nondiscrimination law passes, it generally always includes the separation of “church religion” and “state religion”; that is to say, the Utah “compromise” was really just a continuation of the tradition of civil rights to always include freedom for religious entities to discriminate.

As such, the LDS Church doesn’t actually support nondiscrimination against LGBTs in housing, employment, etc, but rather the “balance” in the law that allows the Church to continue to discriminate against LGBTs and anyone else, actually. (Mormons might be tempted to argue that the Church does, in fact, support nondiscrimination, but one need look no further than BYU’s policy on same-sex sexual conduct.) On the surface the Church might seem to have gotten what it wants (its cake and eat it, too), but I think internally, things are far less stable than they might seem.

ANOTHER GAY MANIFESTO: MY PROBLEM WITH THE MORMON CHURCH

What Can I Say…I Am Still Gay!

I have never been known to stay where I am not wanted.  My present Bishop and Elder’s Quorum President do not like me because I am now openly Gay and they know it.  They are both very Homophobic. L Therefore, I have been refused all my Temple blessings, the Priesthood, and participation in home teaching, or teaching Church lessons or having callings or doing other meaningful service or being able to participate in church activities or other special events in the church, and other blessings as well.  And the Bishop has also forbid me from socializing with any of the youth, and he has told me to not make any friends with the adult males at Church or non-members as well, and not to hang around them either, so I  should not shake their hands as well.  But, I do not know, what I am supposed to do with the friends I already have; am I supposed to ignore them and just forget that they are my friends?  I must try and stay isolated during priesthood, from now on!

The Bishop has also violated my confidentiality, and told several people that I am Gay, including the Stake President, and the Elder’s Quorum President.  And who knows who else he has told, and how many they have told, and how many they have told, and so on and so forth.  Now much of the Ward knows, and they gossip behind my back, I know this, because my friends, (the ones I’m not supposed to have),  tell me so.  I have had 30 other Bishops in my lifetime, and not one of them has ever broken confidentiality before, at least not without my permission, and most bishops never ask for permission to do that.  But this was not the reason for telling the bishop in the first place.  I wanted understanding and compassion, and maybe some help with my feelings and heartache; like most bishops give, but, I never received any comfort or help.  Instead I was betrayed and caused much more pain and heartache.  Now this has become the most hurtful thing that has ever happened to me in the church, even worse than my excommunication.  The bishop has overstepped his bounds in my opinion and he has gone against Church doctrine and policy as well; because I was not doing anything wrong!  Anyway, I did not appreciate being “outted” by him, which is something that I should decide to do, or not to do, myself. 😉 J  This Bishop was not critical of me until I “came out” to him, then he began to treat me unfairly and not help me anymore and cut me off.  After the Bishop told the Elder’s Quorum President, (Brother George), he also started treating me badly.

My Bishop, along with Boyd K. Packer, say that I am a  Perverted Person and a Deviant Person, and that I am a Predator of the young and vulnerable. 😮 (YEAH RIGHT L NOW I AM REALLY INSULTED!). They say that I and other Gays try to recruit others into the lifestyle.  This is not true because it cannot be done, and every gay person knows this to be true. They go on to say that I am Wrong, Lustful, Dangerous, Destructive, Not Desirable, Unnatural, Abnormal, Immoral, Unseemly, and an Affliction.  Also they say that I Have Vile Affections, I Am a Sick Individual, I Am Of the Devil, I am Sinful, and that I am involved in Moral Mischief and other Transgressions.  These are all very negative words and amount to Verbal Gay-Bashing by an Apostle and a Bishop; and even Dallin H. Oaks, of the Twelve says this is verbal gay-bashing also, and I agree; and no one else has disagreed, so far.

Now, on October 4th 2010 Elder Packer is calling same-sex attraction “impure and unnatural” and claiming that “it can be corrected,” (it cannot be corrected at all!!), and he says that “same-sex marriage is immoral.”  Packer’s inaccurate and dangerous rhetoric comes on the heels of the suicides of at least seven gay teenagers that we know of; all victims of anti-gay bullying or harassment.  An additional seven more gay teens committed suicide this year, three of which were the result of anti-gay bullying as well.  Elder Packer must learn that Words Have consequences, particularly when they come from a faith leader. These are exactly the kind of statements that can lead some kids to bully others, and still others to commit suicide.  It also emotionally devastates those who are LGBT [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender] or those who may be struggling with their sexual orientation or gender identity.  It’s both inaccurate and very, very dangerous.  Packer should know better than this, he being immersed into this subject, and he must know how such talks cause suicides.  Gay people are 3 to 8 times more likely to commit suicide than straight kid’s, ages 14-24 years old.  And Mormon gay boys are higher in suicide than anyone in the country, especially in Utah, California and Idaho (Mormon states).

Packer says that church opposition to same-sex marriage “will not change.” Of course not, The Mormon Church is a key supporter of the so-called “National Organization for Marriage” or (NOM), a group that regularly encourages anti-gay attitudes and behaviors, which will undoubtedly lead to more suicides of Gay Mormon boys. The Mormon Church also funded “Proposition 8,” the anti-gay marriage initiative in California, and this has been proven now.  Proposition 8, has now been overturned by a U.S. District Chief Judge named Vaughn R. Walker. J 😀

NOM board member and famous Mormon writer, Orson Scott Card, has said, “Any government that attempts to change marriage is my mortal enemy.  I will act to destroy that government and bring it down, so it can be replaced with a government that will respect and support marriage…”  (I do respect and support marriage, that is why I believe in Gay marriages, and I think that we should have a Constitutional Amendment making marriage available to all…sweetie!!)

“Packer’s remarks in general conference were not only ill-advised and contrary to fact, but were mean spirited and will be perceived by many as bullying,” said David Melson, Executive Director of Affirmation: the Gay and Lesbian Mormons, he went on to say: “We see no potential for good coming from his words and much possible damage, to the church, to individuals, and to families.  The LDS Church should be a source of love, Compassion, and Conciliation, and not of fear and unfeeling petty hatred,” I thought so myself as well.  Packer is a hate-monger, at least against gays, and he stirs others up to hating gays as well, he is very dangerous to gay people. He is very dangerous to my testimony as well.

Also, my bishop is dishonest, and a liar.  I got the Bishop to admit that he told my Elder’s President that I was gay.  But the Bishop lied to me at first, by denying he said anything to anyone, and then He tried to mislead me, and say that he only told the Stake President, but I continued to be direct and be assertive, until he finally told me the truth.  He then said that he had to tell others that I was gay, because they might need to know, in case that I might try and do something (like teach a lesson, {oh how terrible that would have been}), anyway, he felt that I should not be allowed to do anything like that.  This is why brother George asked me to give a lesson in priesthood, and on Sunday, after I had completely prepared the lesson, brother George changed his mind, and did not let me teach the lesson I had prepared.  I thought this was very mean of him.  Now, the Elder’s President, (Brother George), won’t even shake my hand anymore, or talk to me, or even give me eye contact anymore. He used to be super friendly before he knew about me being Gay or homosexual.  Most of the congregation will not greet me or shake my hand either anymore.  They used to be nice also, before they discovered I was gay or homosexual.  Boy, do most Mormons hate homosexuals like this?  Unfortunately the answer to that question is a resounding yes.  I have been in the Church all my life, so I know just how bad the prejudice is!  I have heard many people say many derogatory things about people they do not accept especially gay people.  Many Mormons thought that the disease AIDS was a special plague that God gave to the gay community and not just another venereal disease; now more heterosexuals have it, than do the gays.

In a talk by President James E. Faust, 2nd Counselor in the 1st Presidency of the church, Entitled: “Serving the Lord and Resisting the Devil,” He talks about several sins including Abortion and other severe sins that make the devil happy, if we do them.  Then on the 3rd and 4th page of that talk, he says that: “There is some widely accepted theory extant that homosexuality is inherited (it is, I say!). How can this be? (he says).  No Scientific evidence demonstrates absolutely that this is so.”  I know that Science rarely, if ever, proves something absolutely; however there is very much scientific evidence showing the causes of this condition, and that it is inborn.  It is misleading for him to make statements of this kind, or to make this statement.  He used the word absolutely, absolutely on purpose.  Our youth are particularly vulnerable to these and other statements.  Making statements like these causes depression, low self-esteem, low self-worth and even suicides; I know that it surely has for me, and I have almost killed myself twice.  And this is no laughing matter, either; to be in the Intensive Care Unit for a day, on two separate occasions, and have the doctors not knowing my chance of survival for several hours.  This really frightened my friends as well, not to mention me.  I really believe that all suicide attempts should be taken very seriously. 😮

Next, President Faust says: “Besides, if it were so, it would frustrate the whole plan of mortal happiness…” (Yes it does, but because of false beliefs), he continues, “respectable authorities,” (those would be authorities that agree with him, and him only); he says they “contend that homosexuality is not acquired by birth.  The false belief of inborn homosexual orientation denies to repentant souls the opportunity to change and will ultimately lead to discouragement, disappointment and despair.” (I take it that, these “respectable authorities” are not scientific authorities, being that, the word: REPENTANT was used here.) One could also say that being celibate all your life would also frustrate the plan, both by not having relations with the opposite sex, and not having children.  But you know what? We are born this way, I was born this way,  I have been Gay all my life; and so I have been denied the opportunity to change, and it has led to discouragement, disappointment, and despair, because I have tried to change to something that I am NOT, nor can I ever become or be, at least not in this life.  It is impossible to change your sexual orientation!!!  Does anyone think they can just change their sexual orientation? No!!  It cannot truly be done, not if you are truly honest with yourself anyway.  This is why we did not choose to be Gay or homosexual because the choice was made for us, we had nothing to do with it.  I would like to see a straight person just try and be a gay person by making that choice; not possible is it? 😛

My mortal happiness is found in being Gay.  But, President Faust goes on to say: “Any alternatives to the legal and loving marriage between a man and a woman are helping to unravel the fabric of human society.”  Then he says that the fabric he is talking about is the Family.  It seems to me that things like, oh say, War, Pestilence, Extreme Poverty, Plagues of disease, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Divorce, Hatred, Murder and Terrorism, to name a few, would be much worse on the family, than Gay people getting married. Yet the family goes on, undaunted by these things, at all.  Gay people only want the same commitment and love that straight people have in a bond of holy matrimony.  Besides Gay people only make up less than 1% of the Population of this world and the straight population grows faster than the gay population does, 99 times faster, to be exact.  This is true because Gays and Lesbians do not have their own children, and if they did have their own children, they would probably not be gay.  In fact, 99% of them would be straight.  The children that gays adopt are ones that no one else wants, like gay kids, or “crack babies” and such.  I knew when I was gay at four years old, and some of us know all along.  This is how kids know they are Gay.  These gay kids should be with other Gay families, where they will be loved for who they are; and not hated by them.

Faust goes on to say: “These so-called alternative lifestyles must not be accepted as right, because they frustrate God’s commandment for a life-giving union of male and female… If practiced by all adults, these lifestyles would mean the end of the human family.”  Oh Please!  Give me a break, will Yah!!  The entire human race is not going to be homosexual.  Right now more than 99% of the human race is heterosexual, and that is not about to change.  Besides, ⅓ of all gays, have their own children anyway.  In my lifetime, I have never known a single straight person who wanted to be homosexual or even bisexual; it almost doesn’t exist, so I think that the human family is safe from Gays; let us not be ridiculous!  Besides Gordon Bintner Hinckley, former President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has said that all homosexual people should be celibate their entire life.  If all gays did this, and everyone was homosexual, it would still be the end of mankind, (but that would depend on the whole world being Gay and nobody wanting to breed, even to save mankind. Yeah!! Right!!  Besides, homosexual people usually want children anyway, so I am sure they would find a way to have children anyway, duh!!  I personally know of many Gay men and women that have their own children and being gay never stopped anyone from having kids that wanted to have them!  I am Gay and I was married to a woman for over nine years and we would have had children also, if she had not had a hysterectomy that saved her life, before we were married.

I have not lived the Gay Lifestyle since about August, 1996, and I was married on January, 4th 1997 and I was rebaptized on February, 4th 1997.  Thomas S. Monson, with the First Presidency, NOW states that I am not sinning, did not choose to be Gay, and that I am not to blame myself, God, or my parents for my being Gay, (so you see, I did not choose to be gay at all, after all).  The problem is that not all of the Twelve or The 70 follow the Prophet, President Gordon B. Hinckley or Thomas S. Monson either.  However, most do follow the Prophet like they shoud do.!

Because My Bishop and an Apostle now verbally Gay-bash me, I no longer feel appreciated or loved or comfortable, accepted, or welcome at Church. I do not feel wanted at church either, because I am not allowed to do anything in the church, and I have a strong need to actively participate at church.  I do not like to be made fun of, or have people talking behind my back, like they have been doing.  I do not want to be unhappy all my life.  The Authorities in my church do not understand why I am not happy.  They say that happiness comes from family, marriage, children, companionship and loving relationships, etc. and then they turn right around and tell us gays to abstain from all of these things, and then they cannot see why we are not happy.  It seems obvious to me, why not to them.  They just don’t empathize with us single adults, because they are all married with children, and happy with their families.  I knew this, when I was in Young Single Adults.

My Elder’s President asked me if he had to accept Gay peoples lifestyle or condone it; if Gay’s are afforded civil rights.  How ridiculous is that?  I’m surprised he allows us gays the right to live and breathe at all.  The Church now takes credit for New Gay Rights in Utah.  Thus, the Mormon Church, In Utah, has recently given the Gays the LEGAL right to secure a place to live, and a job to make a living, without discrimination. But, no other equal rights!  It has taken the Church 180 years just to grant these 2 rights, to Gays.  So I think it may be a long time before the Church allows Gays to Marry, adopt children, have school clubs, have parades, cohabitate with their partner or partners, celebrate Gay-Pride day, cross-dress, or even have friends for that matter; so much for free-agency, anyway.  I thought that it was only the devil that tried to take away free-agency.  There is the possibility that the church will never grant these rights, also. And then there are those opportunities to teach, socialize with the other Saints, have the priesthood, or go to the temple, be a leader, conduct a hymn, sing in the choir, say the prayer, socialize with same-sex LDS people, work with the youth, play music, or go home teaching and many other privileges, that heterosexual Saints have and take for granted every day; these are all not available to the Gay Saints, because of Bishops in the church, and not because of General Authorities.  The Prophet’s approve of these things for gays, especially Monson and Hinckley and Benson.

The Leaders in Salt Lake City, UT have now commanded that all Gay & Lesbian members of the Church stay single and celibate for their entire lifetime.  And many bishops have extended this to mean, not having friends at all (even with non-members).  The Bishops have also forbid Gay Youth, to associate with the other youth, and given them other restrictions as well.  No wonder the gay youth commit suicide.  The leaders make the gay youth feel flawed, and that they are evil, and that it is their fault that they are gay, and then they cut them off from their friends and peers, at a time when they are usually already struggling with their own family problems concerning their sexual orientation.  Then the leaders mention that we gays will suffer anguish for this entire lifetime, and that it will be a very difficult struggle all our life, but, that we will reap a reward in the next life only. Boy, if I were a youth again, I would attempt suicide again, myself. A reward in the next life?  YEAH RIGHT. Straight people get to enjoy a happy and joyful life, (if they are righteous), and they still reap a reward in the Celestial Kingdom. But Gay people only get the same EXACT reward, after living a lifetime of loneliness, despair, unhappiness, pain, anguish, frustration, heartache and also,  not having any intimacy, or even any sex at all, in mortality; NOT exactly fair is it, no, not at all, I say,  of course it’s not, any one can see that.  Besides, this goes against the Mormon: “Plan of Happiness,” which is only for straights now because there is no “Plan of Happiness” for the gays now.

I cannot accept this new “plan of unhappiness,” because I have already endured 44 years of loneliness, heartache, anguish, misery, sadness, anger and depression, with 23 suicide attempts; I forgive all who have helped cause me pain, but I do not wish to continue a life full of pain and loneliness.  I need to have Love and affection in my lifetime, along with joy and happiness and intimacy and companionship.  If not, then God is not a fair God or a just God or an impartial God either; because everything that the Church teaches, that is supposed to bring joy & happiness to us, like family, an eternal companion, children, the priesthood, marriage, love, intimacy, family home evening, service to others, fellowship with the Saints, friend-shipping, acceptance from others,  family and companion prayer, the Temple, and all the thousands of joys that these things bring; these things are all denied to Gays, by commandment, from our Prophets.  This is so CRUEL; it challenges my testimony and faith and understanding.  However, I know that, God is a fair and just God, who loves us all equally; it is just that his followers are not fair and just and are unequal in their dealings with their fellow men, and now I find out that Mormons are just the same, very much so, and sometimes much worse.

Each Person I have talked to about these things, my 8 different doctors, my 4 nurses, my DHS worker’s, my 2 CNA’s, 12 of My past Psychiatrists, my past 17 Psychotherapists, and 22 of my past and present Counselors, My 2 Psych-Nurses, both of my providers, 23 of my Neighbor’s & all of My Friends, and even some strangers, they all tell me, to do the same thing, “find another Church.”  The only people, who tell me to stay with the Mormon Church, are 3 of it’s members, and 2 Missionaries, and this does not include the Bishop or the Elder’s Quorum President, (brother George, as he likes to be called), in the three, (of course not, they do not want me in the church).  Now, the members do not know, and may never know, the kind of pain, and yes, anguish, I have gone through, and continue to go through this very day.  This is why they tell me to stay with the Mormon Church; and because the church makes them happy, so they think, why not Robin also.  Of course, missionaries are always going to tell Gay People, to either join the church or come back into the church.  They have no idea what they are asking, they simply follow what they are told to say and do.  Other former Missionaries, who are also Gay, know what I am talking about. You see even former missionaries who are gay, leave the Church also.  Anyone can be homosexual, even bishops and other leaders of the church, or anyone else, even the valiant Saints.  Because it happens before birth, and it takes different people, different times in their life, to realize it, and possibly “come out,” even if they have had these feelings all of their life, but just did not fully understand those feelings.  It happened to this return missionary, when I was just four years old, which is not typical, but in my case this was true.  I guess that I am just s-p-e-c-i-a-l!  I am you know.

I believe the members of many Christian churches, and yes, even the Mormon Church, are extremely selfish, and have very little love for Gay people. I say this for many good reasons and also because they allow any heterosexual person to get married, and have children, no matter how bad and abusive they are.  And then, when they are abusive to their spouse and offspring, they continue in those relationships, even if they molest their own children.  But, Gay people are not allowed to marry, even if they are the most loving people in the world, (and they usually are), and would never harm their significant others.  I for one do not want to be alone all my life.  I do not do well alone and isolated from others.  Loneliness makes me miserable.  I cannot be alone any longer.  If you do not let us gays marry each other, then we might end up getting married to you.  {Not for me though, I have already been there and done that}.  I was married to a woman for over 9 years, and although it was a very good marriage, I was not completely fulfilled or happy.

In the united States alone, over 70 million children have only one parent in their life, I was one of those children, yet the Church says that Gay couples would be worse of an influence, on their children, than a single parent would be, (even though children who have been raised in Gay homes, are much more well adjusted than kids from a broken home, and they are much happier also).  And, what about children, who are already Gay, and have been thrown out of their own home, by their own Mormon parents (how dare they), just because they are Gay?  Yes, this really does happen!  These gay children, would be much better off, in a totally Gay Family where they can find acceptance and unconditional love. (Like with me!).
When Gays try to get a “Gay bill of rights,” members of the church go against it. L (See: “Disagreeing without Being Disagreeable” by Joanna Stephenson Price, Ensign, Mar. 2005 Page 27-29), for an example of this situation.  A “Gay bill of rights” is not a license to have indiscriminate sex.  What it does is reasserts, or reestablishes or even establishes, the basic human rights that heterosexual people already enjoy, but are being denied to Gays and Lesbians because of the hatred of religious people.  Religious people are worse than any other group, when it comes to hatred and prejudice.  More people have been killed in the name of religion, than for any thing else, I know this to be true, because I am a history teacher also.  For some reason, many religions cause their parishioners to hate other sects and non-conformist to their particular religion, like Mormons do. 
The Church is True, and the leaders are inspired, however, some of these same leaders are blinded by their repugnance, and their complete revulsion, and utter Disgust of homosexual people.  All they can think of is that we gays will be having all kinds of sex They do NOT consider that what we want is Love, Compassion, Companionship, Affection, Fondness, Friendship, Kindnes, Beauty, Intimacy, Tenderness, Happiness, Consideration, Company, Close-ness, Empathy, Caring, and Solace. And a lot more thingsJ that I did not feel like writing down just right now. We also want the end of loneliness,L celibacy, isolation, despair, discouragement, unhappiness, and longing for Love.  We just want to be happy, man!  As long as we are not happy, we will continue to fight for our rights, for as long as we live, down through the generations, just like we always have, and I believe that we always will until others leave us alone.
Finally, what do I plan to do about this situation?  I plan to find myself a companion and partner in life, to share my life with, and to share their life with me.  I am going to find true happiness and joy, and love, and end the years of loneliness and despair.  This means, that I am going to find a “Gay-boy” (as I like to call the gay young men), and work for a relationship, and I will even have a Gay wedding, and adopt beautiful children (preferably Gay children).  Because, I do not believe that these joys are reserved for breeders only.  I will continue to Love the Lord and do well to my fellow man, just as I always have.  Also I will find a Church with more love for me and dignity and respect and who will support me and my lifestyle, and where I will be treated well, and I will be able to make many new friends.  There are many churches out there where all this is possible you know, because I have been to several of them and they are growing in number and size.

I know that I will be much happier doing this, than staying with the Mormon Church, because I have been in the Church for 49 years, and because of the Church, I am sad, lonely, miserable, unhappy, joyless, depressed and angry thanks to the Mormon Members.  Members of this Church try to tell me things that I know are not true, like Gay people choose to be “that way,” {even President Hinckley says No to that}, so this is not true at all.  Also that we Gays cause others, and especially the youth to be gay by our example, or our influence on them; this has been proven to be wrong. People do not convert, to be a homosexual, we are only born this way, and nothing can truly or completely change us in this life.  They also say that we Gays are immoral, faithless, unbelieving, and evil.  These things are not true at all either.  The truth is known by the higher leaders, but they do not enforce the truth to the local authorities, so most members may not accept the truth in my lifetime.  Then again, we must not give up hope for these are the latter days, and God loves us just as we are!!!!  With God all things are possible, especially when you also have great faith.  I have very much great faith in the LORD, my GOD.  Besides I am not evil like the bishop thinks I am, I can have a lot of faith and believe and still be gay.  Just because I love men, I am not faithless or without hope.

I want to find a Christian Church where Gays are accepted, and uplifted.  I know of some churches like The Metropolitan Community Church or (MCC), which is an international church for Gays and Lesbians.  I know of Dignity (the Gay Catholics), and Affirmation (the Gay Mormons) of which I am already a member.  I do love the LDS Church very much; however, I have been ridiculed by some of it’s leaders and also I do not appreciate being rejected, ridiculed and treated the way I have been treated.  When the Church made the priesthood available to men of color, (The Blacks), in 1979, some members did not accept this new Revelation that was an answer to President Spencer W. Kimball’s humble prayer. K LDS Members have several prejudices, that they should not have, and they have a serious need of repentance, if they want to be forgiven.  President Kimball’s book: “The Miracle of Forgiveness” gives you some excellent advice, but, it really condemns Gays & Lesbians.  Why do heterosexual people always assume that we Gays are just interested in Gay Sex? It seems that they hopelessly have sex on the brain. Gay men like me, only want positive things, like Love, and Affection, and yes, some Intimacy before we die, some companionship, friendship, and fellowship with other homosexuals.  There is a lot more love in the Gay community, than there is among the straights. That is because we are bonded together, because we are persecuted and hated by the world of straight people; and we are more accepting and tolerant than the non-gays.

I like being Gay, so much now, because I know that this is normal for me, and I know that happiness will come to me, and many other homosexual’s, if we just do not pay attention to the hate-mongers, and the Gay-bashers, and the Bible-bashers, and all of those who think that they are better than we homosexuals.  Because they are NOT!! They are not at all better than we gays are; they just think that to themselves!  In fact, Mormon’s think they are superior to other churches.

Once I knew the truth about myself, that it is alright for me to be gay or queer, I suddenly felt free and liberated from the dark prison of lies that had been told to me all of my life.  The truth really does set you free, after all.  I am attracted to young men, and that is all there is to it, and my attraction is very, very strong also—stronger than I am able to bear and then try to be alone for a lifetime.  I cannot handle being alone, like some people are.  For me, I become very depressed when I am all alone.  I very much need to have a companion to share my life with or else I am quite miserable and eventually I become very suicidal and hopeless.

I find gay men to be comely, (which means gorgeous and beautiful), especially if they are, what I think of as, a “pretty boy.”  They are adorable to me, and my heart goes out to them.  I do not know how I have resisted those urges for so long, but I do believe that it has been a great contributor to my ongoing depression and unhappiness.  I do not see why I should remain sad, lonely, unhappy and celibate any longer.  Life can be hard enough without me adding to the problem.  We all need to LOVE and be LOVED, it is built into our psyche and never goes away.  And why should it anyway.  Unless you are a sociopath, and most of us are not, then we all have needs.  Gay people have special needs also and these needs are often not met.  It can be a very difficult life, the gay life that is, and it can be filled with pain and sorrow.  The rejection by family, peers and even teachers can be devastating to a young person.  Why would anyone choose this life with all of its difficulties? I don’t think anyone would.  {I just saw on TV a 14 yr. old boy who committed suicide because he was Gay}.  You see, we are this way, because we are born this way, and no one can change us, and we cannot change ourselves. Happiness only comes to us by accepting who we are, and not what some one else wants us to be. Most homophobes, somewhere deep inside, are just a homosexual that is too afraid to admit to the world, that they are Gay, so they fear their own selves and hate other Gays.  I for one have never been a homophobe.  I love all gays and most lesbians, just kidding; I love all the lesbians and even bisexuals and transgender people too.

If you only knew, what it is like, to be attracted to someone of your own sex, when you know the rest of the world was not like that, and that most of the world would hate you for being “that way,” but there was nothing you could do about it; and the attraction was very strong, and it was also, the only thing that made you happy and caused you to like yourself, or even be able to love yourself; but again, the world made you feel that you had to give up these feelings.  These feelings, which will not go away no matter what you do, are the only feelings that made you feel good about yourself, in a world that hated and persecuted you.  Then you came to believe, that you could never be happy in this life.  What would You do then?  Especially when, even a Prophet of God cannot help you out of your misery, and your parents and bishop cannot help either.  Then you are sad and alone with no chance of happiness.  After some time goes by, you begin to lose hope and then you begin to hurt all over and deep depression sets in.  Without help, it just gets worse and worse until you can no longer stand to live any longer.  This is how I felt many years ago, but things change and now I am trying to get better and try and overcome the past.

This is why so many Gay young men, and even Mormon boys, decide to take their own life, and end the pain and conflict.  {I just wanted you to understand why, so many boys and young men, who are Gay, and even some lesbians, end their own life by their own hand.}  Now, ask yourself this question, (and this includes Mormon boys and girls, who are Gay, especially Mormon Gay boys): “why isn’t the Mormon Church able to help these Gay boys and girls” [or me]?  And so they keep on dying!  Help us please! (And not the way that the church has been doing it all of these years, either).  Try loving us unconditionally for a change.  The Church advocates “reparative therapy,” which does not work for the vast majority of homosexuals, and in fact, this therapy causes many homosexuals to commit suicide, who, would not have done so, if they had not gone through the “reparative therapy torture,” and some people have secretly brought in video equipment and taped what was going on in order to prove what was happening in these places and also provided proof of the suicides as well, so now we all know that it’s true and it is true!

Mormon boys and girls who are gay, should be stronger than other kids, (at least you might think so), but sometimes they are not!  Why not?  Because, the things that they usually build their spiritual and other foundations with, and that should be there for their strength, are either missing or not there for them.  I am talking about the Family and the Church.  Instead, their family and the church are often against them, or are not supporting them in their time of need.  Your family is often not there for you, when you are gay, because of what the church teaches about homosexuals and how the church treats them also; and the members treat them; therefore, many of these teens kill themselves when tormented by their peers.

Therefore, it is the Church that is causing these premature deaths of young gay people who are members of the church.  Any church that provokes the suicides of its own children, gay or not, has some serious problems!  I cannot be a part of a church that has these practices, at least not until that church changes its ways, and makes amends or penance for all their hate and wrong doing.  Church people are supposed to be in the business of showing love anyway, not petty hatred.

My only regrets in life are that I do not have my own children to  raise, because I would have been a very good father, and many of my friends, counselors and psychotherapists have told me that I would have been an excellent father as well.  My other regret is that I was in the proverbial “closet” for so long (until age 27), and then I went back into the closet for over 14 years, because that is what the church told me would bring me happiness and joy.  The church supported me in my getting married to a woman.  Now the church has changed its position on marriage for fags, (to the opposite sex).  Now we fags cannot marry at all.  I have been celibate for almost 5 years now, ever since my wife of 9.3 years past away.  I am so lonely that I can hardly stand life at all.  The church program for faggots, is not working at all, it needs help, otherwise gays will continue to leave the Church in ever increasing numbers; and they will be less and less likely to come back to Church either.

When the Prophet commanded that all faggots stay celibate for life, I believe that the President was not inspired, he just did what he thought was best; because, only man can be this thoughtless and cruel.  How short-sighted this idea was, and still is.  I believe that this new position will easily drive out many of the 169,080 fags that are all admitted gays in the church, and even more of the approximate 344,000 other fags that are both in the church and in the closet.  If you want any of us back, then write to the Prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, and ask him for a better solution, one that does not contribute to the 3,800 suicides of Gay people, world wide, each and every year!  Ask for a solution that does not cause major depression and sadness and loneliness.  Remember these are your brothers and sisters that you are condemning to a lifetime of celibacy and no love.

The church needs to be unified again, because right now there is a division and strife in the church, concerning the Gay issue.  Some members listen to the prophet and stop persecuting homosexuals, while others, along with their local leaders, continue to alienate and mistreat homosexuals, and are unfair and sometimes just plain mean to them.  Only I know all the unfair things my bishop did to me.

There needs to be greater love in the LDS faith.  The Mormon Church needs the kind of love and charity that Christ had for his own church.  The members who think that all homosexuals are going straight to hell, after judgment day, may be surprised one day when they end up in hell themselves, all because of either, how they mistreated homosexuals, or how they hated them.  The Bible says, you have no faith, if you hate your brother, and that you do not love God, if you say you do then God says that you are a liar.  (see the book of James in the New Testament).

I Have given most of my life, to Heavenly Father and Christ’s true church, and now my reward is, or so it seems to be, nothing short of a promise, that I will live a lifetime of sheer hell.  Goodbye Mormon Church, I love you, but, we have irreconcilable differences.  I will always miss you, and I will forever have fond memories of you.  My friends at Affirmation told me that it is almost impossible to be homosexual, and remain a member of the Mormon Church.  They were so right!  Especially if you live in Oklahoma, and in towns like Muskogee!  This is what happens when you have a redneck for a Bishop and an Elders Quorum President.

I never wanted to leave the Mormon Church before, but now, I feel like I am being pushed out, by the members, and especially some of the leaders, like Elder Boyd K. Packer and Bishop Robert W.; who have more hate in their heart, for fags, than they have love for them.  But I will not stay away for too long anyway.

I have spent a lot of time researching facts and figures, history and information, as well as reading many articles from the Church, especially from their website; in preparing this Manifesto.  I have tried to make this paper as accurate as possible, however, if I have made any mistakes, please overlook them, and forgive me.  I have also included some personal opinions of mine, that may seem to be a bit insensitive, but, I did not intend to offend anyone; so if I have offended you, please excuse me.  I just have very strong feelings about this subject. This paper is also a statement of my personal beliefs, and they are very important to me.  What I have said, I have said, and I am very serious about what I have written.  {The purpose of this Manifesto is to make known to my friends and family, my status with the LDS Church and my feelings regarding homosexuality}.  I am not trying to convince anyone of anything, [for it says in the book of Proverbs: “Convince a man against his will, he will be of the same opinion still”].  I know that the information in this Manifesto is correct and true, and I could have submitted numerous articles, (mostly from the Church), for your review, however, I felt that using only select and relevant portions from those articles, would suffice.  I have used many exact quotes from Church Leaders, which are in quotation marks.
I also hope that this work will help others who might be struggling with same-sex attraction and/or thoughts of suicide.  If you or someone you know, is struggling with these issues, you should all know this: God Loves You, and Jesus Christ Loves You, and I Love You Very Much, and over 700,000,000 (that’s seven hundred million) LGBT {Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, and Trans-Gender} all love you too.  Our hearts go out to you.  Be good to yourself, and be happy.  And do not even think of suicide, (but if you are, Please, Please Get Some Counseling).  Don’t apply a permanent solution to a temporary problem.  Believe me when I say that you can feel better and be very happy while still being homosexual, bisexual or transgender people.

God be with us all, until we meet again.  LOVE AND KISSES, AND LOTS OF HUGS TO ALL, and LOL (Lots Of Love).

LOVE you all with all my heart & soul: Robin Lee Johnson. 

The End of “Manifesto #3” (original title).

Those Uppity Gays

The whole Chick-fil-A controversy reminds me of a period of time in recent American history when a segment of our society that tried to assert what it believed to be its civil rights and dignity was brutally repressed, particularly in a certain section of the country.

I refer, of course, to African-Americans which is certainly not what they were called back then.

Recently, I loaned our copy of The Help to my young teenage son to watch. He told me later that he enjoyed the movie but was appalled that black people were actually treated that way. I was dismayed, but not surprised I suppose, that he knew so little about what things were like back then.

My son has probably never even heard the word nigger. The thought that a black person was forced to use separation public washrooms, was expected to sit at the back of the bus, was expected to remember her place, was expected to accept second-class citizenship and (perhaps most of all) was expected not get uppity and aspire to being treated equally all of this was beyond the pale of my sons comprehension.

I gave him a very brief history of what it was like, what I remember watching on the news growing up in the 60s. What I didnt go into was the way segregation was viewed by society at large, particularly in the South, which is also the bastion of Chick-fil-A. How in those days, sermons were preached in many pulpits about the propriety of keeping things the way God intended them to be. How those who were trying to change things were called agitators and were routinely intimidated, beaten or even murdered. How most people were simply part of the silent majority who didnt commit acts of violence but who nevertheless to one degree or another agreed with those of their ilk who were committing acts of violence, whether government-sanctioned (e.g., police) or acts of vigilantism.

What I think he would have had the most trouble comprehending, however, is the concept that African-Americans were expected to just accept the order of things as dictated by the racist white majority. Blacks were expected to see themselves as inferior, because of course they were. No amount of agitation could change the religiously-sanctioned (and even promoted) view that blacks were inferior to whites and needed to be treated so. What really enraged certain segments of the white population in the South (as well as elsewhere in the country) was when blacks simply refused to accept this status-quo. How dare they be so uppity!

So, here we are in 2012, and the same thing is going on only this time, its the gays that are being uppity. Certain segments of the population, i.e., those represented by the people that stood in line at Chick-fil-A restaurants around the country a couple of days ago, are perhaps willing at least publicly to accept the existence of homosexuals, but they are enraged that gays presume to aspire to the same degree of civic equality as heterosexuals. They insist that gays accept second-class status and are infuriated when we refuse to do so.

To me, thats what this Chick-fil-A thing is all about. Dignity. Vast swaths of our society expect us to accept their world-view, their beliefs about ourselves and their views as to what we are entitled in the way of civil rights. The fact that we refuse to do so makes some of them practically foam at the mouth.

I wonder, will my grandson, 40 years from now, express incredulity that a minority in our society was discriminated against, suffered acts of violence and was expected to know their place and keep it? Will he find it difficult to comprehend that religious organizations actively participated in this discrimination and fostered this intolerance and hate? Will he wonder why a majority of society simply accepted this situation as being part of the natural order of things?

I hope so.

* Invictus Pilgrim blogs atBeyond-the-Closet-Door.blogspot.com, where the above post was published last Friday.

Would Romney dare choose a Female VP?

I assume Romney’s gonna win the GOP nomination. Currently, some of the other candidates are playing populist cards to try to paint Romney as a “vulture capitalist,” and the rest of the GOP is folding in on itself, wondering whatever happened to the party that supported laissez-faire capitalism.

Meanwhile, evangelicals are coming to terms with what seems an inevitable nomination. As Texas pastor Robert Jeffress (who a few months ago called Mormonism a “cult”) has put it:

It’s probably better to embrace a non-Christian like Romney, who embraces biblical values like the sanctity of life and the sanctity of marriage, rather than a professing Christian like President Obama, who embraces unbiblical positions.

Meanwhile, I took some interest in this Vanity Fair article detailing Romney’s relations with women in the Church (starting at the bottom of page 2). It’s mixed. On the one hand, as stake president, Romney was open to a meeting where suggestions were made to better include women in the life of the Church. But on the other hand, as bishop, he threatened excommunication on a pregnant single woman who refused to give her child up for adoption when it was born. Another pregnant woman had a serious blood clot in her pelvis, and the child had a 50% chance of survival. Romney simply couldn’t fathom how the stake president (who was a doctor) had recommended an abortion. The woman writes:

Here Ia baptized, endowed, dedicated worker, and tithe-payer in the churchlay helpless, hurt, and frightened, trying to maintain my psychological equilibrium, and his concern was for the eight-week possibility in my uterusnot for me!

To get to the title of this post, I don’t think Romney will choose a female VP. Even if he has to pick an evangelical in hopes of securing the conservative base just like McCain did in 2008, I don’t think he’ll pick a female evangelical (who would he pick?). It just wouldn’t be the Mormon way of doing things. (A Mormon man inviting a woman into a position of great power? *gasp of unthinkability*)

Unlike evangelicals, Mormons blend the secular and the religious more when it comes to gender roles. While most evangelical churches still refuse to ordain women, it’s my understanding that there’s not so much of an emphasis on women necessarily becoming stay-at-home moms.

If indeed part of the reasoning behind McCain choosing Palin was to close a gender gap among swing voters, Romney’s religious background insisting women are “made” to become stay-at-home moms is going to be an issue even among evangelicals. With role models like Palin and Bachmann, when Romney picks a male running mate later this year, women evangelicals are sure to feel some disappointment. How deep that disappointment will run is unclear.

(Edit: here’s an article on female voters supporting Romney more this time around and why)

 

A noteworthy pair of serial answers to Dallin H. Oaks and Robert P. George

Alan Westermark @ Scrum Central:

Oaks Rebutted, Chapter One: New Mexico photographer;
Oaks Rebutted, Chapter Two: New Jersey pavilion;
Oaks Rebutted, Chapter Three: Illinois and Wisconsin professors;
Oaks Rebutted, Chapter Four: Georgia and Michigan grad students;
Oaks Rebutted, Chapter Five: The Valiant Little Pastor;
Oaks Rebutted, Chapter Six: Catholic Charities of Boston;
Oaks Rebutted, Chapter Seven: BSA is not a religious organization;
Oaks Rebutted, Chapter Eight: Summing Up.

Rob Tisinai @ Box Turtle Bulletin:

Reply to George: I. Introduction;
Reply to George: II. Dont Get Ahead of Yourself;
Reply to George: III. Stop Sneaking in Your Conclusion!;
Reply to George: IV. Parallels to Interracial Marriage;
Reply to George: V. Can We Talk About Real Marriage?;
Reply to George: VI. Marriage = Man + Woman:
Reply to George: VII. Is Marriage About the Children? Not for George.;
Reply to George: VIII. Only the Dead Can Marry!.

To be continued …

P.S. In other news, Mormon pollster Gary Lawrence has been keeping busy running push-polls against marriage equality in Maryland.

Elder Oaks and Dr. John C. Eastman

I was perusing the blogosphere reading about Elder Oaks’ talk at Chapman University, the talk where he said religious freedom is under attack by secularists and gays. (Roll eyes here.)

The talk didn’t surprise me. But a photo on the Church News website of Elder Oaks walking next to a man named Dr. John C. Eastman did surprise me.

http://www.ldschurchnews.com/articles/60490/Protect-the-Constitution-Elder-Oaks-asks-religious-groups-to-unite.html

Taking a page from Ezra Taft Benson’s playbook, Elder Oaks appears to be on good terms with a man on the far-far Right.

I know who Dr. Eastman is because lately he’s been almost a regular in Arizona. He’s a lawyer who is pals with Arizona’s own divisive Mormon, Senate President and unofficial Governor, Russell Pearce.

Dr. Eastman is the director of the Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence, an ultra-conservative public interest law firm. He has been in Arizona twice in the past few weeks to champion Senate Bill 1308 (otherwise known as the “anchor baby” bill) an un-American, immoral, unconstitutional, illegal effort to undermine the citizenship provision of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Brother Russell Pearce is one of the sponsors of the bill.

Back in 2000 Dr. Eastman echoed a quote that should be familiar to Mormons: that slavery and polygamy were “twin relics of barbarism.” Then he said that the two new indications of barbarism in the 20th century are abortion and homosexuality. In 2010 he spoke to a group of Republicans in California saying that if gays and lesbians are ever allowed to marry in California, the citizens have a right to react to “insufferable” government policies by “rising up and abolishing those governments.”

I was taught in Young Mens to choose my friends wisely because I would be judged by the people I was associated with. I understand why the racist and homophobic Brother Russell Pearce has invited Dr. Eastman to speak in Arizona. But I wondered, “Is Dr. Eastman the kind of guy that an Apostle (and by extension, the Church) want to be connected with?”

In the long run Oaks’ talk and association with people like Dr. Eastman will only alienate the more moderate, progressive Mormons who don’t agree with Oaks’ politics and find themselves grappling with a lot of new questions. To those Mormons I say, “Welcome to Main Street Plaza.”

Respect versus Idolatry

When Republicans read the United States Constitution in the House of Representatives, they censored the embarrassing passages of the document, you know, the part about slavery and African American being 2/3s people in Article I, Section 2.

I am glad that people are ashamed of slavery. On the downside, the efforts to depict the Constitution as perfect strike me as idolatrous.

I admire the founding fathers because they were human beings with warts and flaws that achieved an extraordinary feat.

Covering up their errors is not doing them a favor. More importantly, the United States Constitution is not the tower of Babel. It was not supposed to reach into heaven but it was a pragmatic compromise to address existential challenges of the American people.

Therefore, the Constitution requires permanent adaptation to a changing environment and the changing needs of the American people. Furthermore, the Constitution can also be improved. It was not meant to be perfect and it is not perfect.

The genius of the founding fathers was, in part, that for all their passion, principles, and insights, they could compromise with each to address the problems of the day.

Slavery was part of that compromise. It was the price for consensus. As a result, millions of Americans suffered exploitation, torture, and deprivation. 500,000 Americans had to perish during the Civil War before slavery was formally terminated.

It’s disrespectful to those who suffered to pretend that their fate and their lives were not codified in the United States Constitution.

Tragedy is as much part of the United States Constitution as glory. Acknowledging that not only celebrates the inclusion of those who were once left out, women and African Americans, but it also renders those who opposed inclusion more humane because it helps us to appreciate their misguided but sincere notion of virtue.

Sitting on a shelf gathering dust

Food storage is a good example of the divide between liberal and conservative schools of thought. Not all LDS believe in keeping a three months’ supply of food, of course. While it’s been discussed as recently as 2007, I think food storage was always a “soft” commandment. Like journaling and genealogy, some LDS keep a three month supply and some don’t.

A person can be considered a faithful LDS and not have shelves full of canned goods and drinking water. It’s not part of the temple recommend interview (that I know of).
Continue reading “Sitting on a shelf gathering dust”

National Day of Prayer – bye bye!

My crazy uncle (who I really like) just send me one of his amazing emails. Here’s the email with some comments I couldn’t help but add included in blue:

HOORAY, HOORAY, HOORAY for Andy Rooney (hilarious that they think Andy Rooney would write this!). I myself have been grumbling and wondering how a handful of people have been able to take our right to pray in public places away from us (I’m assuming they mean the recent court case that determined a National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional). So, agreeing with Andy, I GLADLY will forward this email AGAIN, AGAIN AND AGAIN. Folks, this is the Month that we RE-TAKE AMERICA (from the majority group that has most of the power, those fracking Christians!). Keep this going around the globe . Read it and forward every time you receive it. We can’t give up on this issue.

Andy Rooney and Prayer
Andy Rooney says: I don’t believe in Santa Claus, but I’m not going to sue somebody for singing a Ho-Ho-Ho song in December. I don’t agree with Darwin , but I didn’t go out and hire a lawyer when my high school teacher taught his Theory of Evolution (this is the sentence that immediately cued me into the fact that this couldn’t be Andy Rooney; he may be odd, but he’s not ignorant). Life, liberty or your pursuit of happiness will not be endangered because someone says a 30-second prayer before a football game. So what’s the big deal? It’s not like somebody is up there reading the entire Book of Acts. They’re just talking to a God they believe in and asking him to grant safety to the players on the field and the fans going home from the game. But it’s a Christian prayer, some will argue. Yes, and this is the United States of America , a country founded on Christian principles. According to our very own phone book, Christian churches outnumber all others better than 200-to-1.(ahh, the old argumentum ad populum) So what would you expect — somebody chanting Hare Krishna? If I went to a football game in Jerusalem, I would expect to hear a Jewish prayer… (no he wouldn’t ’cause they wouldn’t) If I went to a soccer game in Baghdad , I would expect to hear a Muslim prayer. (again, no he wouldn’t ’cause they wouldn’t; and I’m guessing he’d be offended if one was said) If I went to a ping pong match in China , I would expect to hear someone pray to Buddha. (now he’s removing any trace from anyone’s mind how uneducated he is; definitely no prayers to Buddha in China before ping pong matches) And I wouldn’t be offended. It wouldn’t bother me one bit. (I’d love to see this actually play out and see if he was offended) When in Rome… (um, is he really saying do as the “Muslims/Buddhists/Jews” would do? I don’t think he means what he thinks he means…)

But what about the atheists? Is another argument. What about them? Nobody is asking them to be baptized.(um, well, yes, people are) We’re not going to pass the collection plate. Just humor us for 30 seconds.(only if you’ll humor me for 30 seconds when you’re done; fair is fair) If that’s asking too much, bring a Walkman or a pair of ear plugs. Go to the bathroom. Visit the concession stand. Call your lawyer! (ah, yes, the old – “suck it atheists” approach when all else fails) Unfortunately, one or two will make that call. One or two will tell thousands what they can and cannot do.(yep, just like one or two told whites that segregated schools were a bad thing and beating wives was a bad thing; those a**holes, thinking they know what is best for everyone else! Bring back the 1940s!) I don’t think a short prayer at a football game is going to shake the world’s foundations.(nope, just inappropriate) Christians are just sick and tired of turning the other cheek while our courts strip us of all our rights.(um, wow! Can you say “not a good Christian”?!? Matthew 5:38-42 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.”)

Our parents and grandparents taught us to pray before eating, to pray before we go to sleep. Our Bible tells us to pray without ceasing. Now a handful of people and their lawyers are telling us to cease praying.(um, not exactly; the federal courts are simply saying that government can’t tell citizens when and how to pray; you can pray without ceasing, just don’t force me to listen to you) God, help us. And if that last sentence offends you, well, just sue me.(no need; we won the lawsuit already) The silent majority has been silent too long.(oh, you mean the one with thousands of radio stations and TV stations and billboards and churches and politicians representing it? Right. I never hear that “silent majority.”) It’s time we tell that one or two who scream loud enough to be heard that the vast majority doesn’t care what they want.(You hear that, blacks, women, homosexuals, etc? The majority doesn’t want to give you rights.) It is time that the majority Rules! (um, that’s basically defined in the Constitution; been that way for a long time) It’s time we tell them, You don’t have to pray; you don’t have to say the Pledge of Allegiance; you don’t have to believe in God or attend services that honor Him. That is your right, and we will honor your right; but by golly, you are no longer going to take our rights away.(you mean your right to infringe upon my rights; didn’t know that was a right…) We are fighting back, and we WILL WIN! (um, nope; you lost)

God bless us one and all… (no thanks) Especially those who denounce Him, God bless America, despite all her faults. She is still the greatest nation of all. God bless our service men who are fighting to protect our right to pray and worship God. Let’s make 2010 the year the silent majority is heard and we put God back as the foundation of our families and institutions. And our military forces come home from all the wars. Keep looking up.

I, of course, as the crazy nephew, couldn’t help but respond to everyone on the email list with the following:

Hi,

Sorry for the intrusion in your inbox, but I once again feel obligated to correct misinformation. First, the email below was not written by Andy Rooney (if you know Andy Rooney, you know he’d never write that email):
http://www.snopes.com/politics/soapbox/prayer.asp

It was written by Nick Gholson, a sports writer in Wichita Falls, Texas.

It is also remarkably ignorant of the recent court case in which a Federal Court decided that a National Day of Prayer IS unconstitutional:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Day_of_Prayer

Basically what happened was Billy Graham, using the political influence of Evangelical Christians, convinced Congress to enact a National Day of Prayer in 1952. The date for the National Day of Prayer was formalized in the 1980s at the request of Campus Crusade for Christ. The National Day of Prayer Task Force, led by Shirley Dobson, was housed in the Focus on the Family building in Colorado, which is where James Dobson, an Evangelical Christian, has his headquarters. In other words, the National Day of Prayer was an Evangelical Christian sponsored event!

Everyone who cares about religious autonomy should be cheering this court decision. Why? Because it makes it so government cannot tell you when and how you should pray. Religious minorities, like Mormons, should be particularly excited by this case, as this reduces the odds of Evangelical Christians pushing their particular religious worldview on the rest of America, which I’m sure Mormons and other religious minorities would not like.

Just thought you’d like some accurate information today.

Yeah, I know, I’m THAT jerk who feels arrogant enough to think he should correct people via email. Anywho, here’s a response I received:

No, I don’t know that Andy Rooney would never write an article like the one below. I don’t know him, do you? But it doesn’t matter if Andy wrote it orNick Gholson wrote it. It is a well writtenarticle that everyone should consider. And what was threatening or unconstitutional about a national day of prayer?? One could pray to their God or not, it was not forced and they certainaly were not telling us “when or how youshould pray”. Who cares who sponsoredit. It was a daywherebelievers in God could collectively thank the Supreme Being for our blessings and ask Hisblessings for our country and fellow man. So a federal courtruled it unconstitutional.So what!! That doesn’t make it right. It just makes it one more bad, unconstitutional, decision the courts havemade over the years – like the one the U. S. Supreme Courtymade in 1857 wherethey ruledblacks, slaves as well as free, were not and could never become citizens of the United States. Or like the decision the Supreme Court made in 1890when they declared that Idaho’s 1885 law denying Mormons the right to vote or hold public office was consitutional. Who knows -if this case goes to the Supreme Court perhaps they will overule the lower court.

No, I’m not cheering the decision thecourt made denying the right for a national day of prayer.It’s only just one more assault on religion and prayer made byunbelieversand atheists. I believe the goal of those who bring these court cases is not to preserve religious rights but to ultimatelyhave allprayer and religion in this country banned. They are trying to take away our right to believe inand worship God.I doubt they will everbe happy or stop the assault on religionuntil they have everyone convincedthat God is a myth and all religious worship and prayers are forbidden.

My less than kind response:

First, yes, I do know Andy Rooney. He’s a famous television personality and social commentator on 60 Minutes. I’m amazed you don’t know him, but I guess not everyone watches 60 Minutes.

Second, it’s not well-written. It’s actually quite poorly written. But issues of grammar aside, the issue behind a national day of prayer is an important one. Is it threatening? Yes. We were told WHEN to pray (first Thursday in May) and we were told HOW to pray (the National Day of Prayer Task Force wrote the prayer for everyone). Since it sounds like you’re a Christian, my guess is that you probably don’t mind this because the prayers were Christian in nature. But, and this is the point, what if they were not? What if a Muslim or a Hindu were elected to office? And what if their prayer was, “Allah, smite the Christians that they all die.” Would you still feel the same way about a national day of prayer? Or what if it was a Wiccan who was elected to office? Would you be okay if, instead of prayer, they performed a magical ritual involving pentagrams, black cats, and human blood?

You see, here’s where you’re missing the point: You’re okay with a “National Day of Prayer” because you are in the majority and you don’t think that all of the minorities out there should find your beliefs offensive. But THEY DO! Especially when they are forced on them. Try flipping perspectives for a minute to see the world from the perspective of a religious minority. If you can’t, too bad. You’re welcome to continue in your dogmatic views. But perhaps seeing the world from the perspective of a minority will help you realize that the intent is not to remove people’s right to pray but rather to remove government from religion. Do you really want big government telling you how to worship? I’m guessing your against government and doubly against government controlling religion. So why aren’t you for this court decision?

You then assume that “unbelievers and atheists” are assaulting religion. Really? Maybe they’re simply defending their rights (FYI, I’m an atheist). Have you ever been forced to listen to an atheist give a “prayer” at a funeral or graduation? Me either, because they would never force their views on anyone else. Atheists don’t want to listen to your prayers any more than you want to listen to them. So, they are asserting their rights to say, “Don’t make me listen to your prayers.” And they’re not saying, “Oh, you now have to listen to mine.” They’re/We’re simply saying, “Be as religious as you want – on YOUR time and YOUR dime, but not on mine.” Isn’t that fair? Or do you think it’s not fair because you want the government to support your beliefs over theirs?

Oh, and just for fun, if you are a Christian, maybe you should reconsider your position in light of your own scripture:
Matthew 6:5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.”

Your god says not to pray in public anyway. This court decision actually just makes it easier for you to follow your own religion.

And, finally, her response:

Yes, I have heard of Andy Rooney and have listened to some of his commentaries, but I don’t know him and can’t speak for what he would or wouldn’t say and neither can you.

Please delete my email address from your records and I will certainly remove traces of your address from my computer. I have no wish to hear from you and I also thinkit was veryrude of you to steal email addresses from forwarded mail and then email your views topeople you don’t know and who definitely don’t share your views!