Why Chick-Fil-A’s stance against GLBT equality, and our response to it matters

It may seem as if I’m coming into this discussion a bit late, in fact – I’m not –  I’ve been participating in the  boycott against Chick-fil-A for nearly 3 years now and in those 3 years I’ve probably been 5 times when other people were driving. I’m not sure why Dan Cathy had to make it official that he and the company had a stance that was specifically geared against GLBTQ equality, perhaps the media simply didn’t pick up on the millions in donations made every year to Focus on the Family and similar organizations – or their attempts to blackball PFLAG groups from making grounds in private colleges the WinShape Foundation makes sizable donations to. (These are old news stories that are almost impossible to find because of the torrent of hype surrounding the recent statements by Dan Cathy – once this dies down it should be easier to find them and I’ll update the post with links.)

Contrary to what many conservative Christians might have you think, this is not a witch hunt all about taking away a single man or even a companies’ rights of freedom of speech away;  though you may have a few people taking advantage of the emotions of the moment willing to ban privately owned franchises (likely because it will benefit them politically, and yes I’m looking at you Mayor’s Menino, Lee, and Emmanuel) Dan Cathy and Chick-Fil-A are perfectly within their rights to talk about how sinful they believe same sex marriage is – and they can even give money to whatever causes they deem appropriate. Obviously I believe that, as a boycott participant if I didn’t believe that I’d be a hypocrite.

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Tebow, The Bible, and the Christian Persecution Complex

It wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t start this post out with a certain disclaimer:  I don’t know a thing about football and have never cared much for what I estimate to be the most unintelligent of all the sports (hate mail can be directed to this address) – I’ve only recently  heard about Tim Tebow and couldn’t personally care less about his football career – I just think his recent success gives rise to a great opportunity to discuss a few things that I find to be vitally important

 

Tebow, God’s Favorite Quarterback:

I hang out  and socialize with an inordinate amount of Christians, it’s something I’m open to and greatly enjoy – but rather recently it seems that the most common topic among many of them is now none other than Tim Tebow, the quarterback (he throws the football) for the Denver Broncos (a team in the NFL). Tebow’s iconographic rise to Christian stardom seems to be the result of his willingness to make public expressions of his faith.

From a Superbowl commercial in 2010 with a decidedly pro-life message (and sponsored by Focus on the Family) ,to the now trademark Tebowing that seems to be a new spontaneous fad among all sorts of Christians, and frequent mention of his faith during interviews you cannot avoid the fact that Tim Tebow is a Christian and proud of it. Christians seem to have been desperate for a well known sports star to call their own and they’ve found one in this Heisman winner and are quick to defend any ill words directed his way.

In yet another example of how sometimes we atheists only need to sit back and wait for someone to say something ridiculously stupid his pastor, Wayne Hanson of Summit Church in Colorado, has even gone so far as to attribute a 6 win streak earlier this year to being “God’s Favor“.

The God of the Christian Bible has a vested interest in American Football.

Just let that sink in for a moment.

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Keeping Church and State Separate – Without Compromise

Many of you have heard by now of The Gulnare Freewill Baptist Church, in Pike County Kentucky whose membership recently voted to disallow membership, marriage, and some participation in worship services to interracial couples.  You’ve also likely heard the many voices in the atheist  and Christian communities calling to have the government intervene and have this church closed down. I’ve seen a few – but I’d rather not call any names.

As a white Southerner I’ve been raised by the adults in my life to believe that “race mixing” is wrong.  I’ve been raised with the idea that black people are somehow inferior to whites and that it’s best that we just avoid associating with one another. The ‘ N ‘ word was probably the most commonly used word in my family growing up. None of these things are atypical of white people raised in the community I come from. In fact, my county is still arguing over Confederate flags – I couldn’t be more embarrassed by this fact.

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It Gets Better: A Letter to Doubters

I remember thinking – knowing really, during that indescribably difficult and painful time of my life when all of my doubts were finally being dealt with, that this darkness and self-hatred was  something I was destined to endure until I died. I remember this feeling, hopelessness, being all that I could feel for some time.

I was losing my faith. I was losing the core of who I thought I was. I’ve tried to describe this pain before but my words can’t do it justice. This was an involuntary reversal of that which I once KNEW; that my god existed, loved me, and had plans for my life. To know something and then to no longer know that something, especially something so vital to my own existence can be absolutely devastating.  It was for me.

For over two years I wanted to end my life every day. It seemed like the only way.

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Rules of Engagement

I don’t particularly like to use terms of war when I discuss what I call Positive Atheism – or activist atheism if you will. In this case I find it rather difficult to find a better term to use, but to be crystal clear, this post is in no way a call to arms or a declaration of war. This is a discussion about engagement in the form of intellectual and philosophical discussions and debates. (I don’t want there to be ANY confusion here – or any opportunity for the less scrupulous individual to make claims that might hinder reason or falsely indicate a “war mentality” here.)
In a previous post, from what seems like forever ago, I discussed what I felt was a moral obligation on my part to reduce faith and increase understanding. In this post I intend to talk about the Rules of Engagement that I have developed when engaging in these sorts of discussions. These are my personal rules, some may not find these necessary – but for me it draws a line in the sand as to what conversations are worthy of my time and attention, as I have a tendency toward extremes. If at least one of the following criteria are not met, I won’t bother engaging.

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Why Republicans Should be Pleased with the DOMA Ruling

Just a couple days ago, on July 8th 2010 a Federal Judge ruled that section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was unconstitutional. If you aren’t familiar with DOMA and Section 3 you should know that it established an official definition for the word ‘marriage’ as the legal union only between one man and one woman, furthermore it required the word `spouse’ refer only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.

Judge Tauro came to his ruling for various reasons; the atmosphere at the time of  DOMA’s passage in the senate was one where epithets and religious jargon were openly used in the chamber to describe the homosexual act leading him to believe that DOMA was intended to punish a group of people that were politically unpopular,  nor did the law do anything to protect the family as was it’s stated cause, most importantly for the purposes of the points I intend to make is that Section 3 in particular is a violation of States Rights as guaranteed by the Constitution in the Tenth Amendment.

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The Effects of Evangelism on Christians in India

I’m Pissed.

You see, the other day I found a video showing Christian’s in India being beaten and stoned to death. According to this video the reason they are being beaten and stoned is solely because they are Christians. The video featuring the pastor of Cornerstone Church, Francis Chan, is located here.

*Warning: This video contains very disturbing and graphic images, if you are offended by violence, blood, or evangelism you should not watch this (nor should you read the Bible).

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My Gripe with the Tea Party: My Town Responds

Last week, as you remember, I wrote a letter to the editor of The Dodge County News regarding the T.E.A. Party tax rally held by some private organizers and citizens of Eastman, GA. That letter can be found in it’s entirety Here along with various comments from locals and my internet friends.. The Dodge County News runs weekly, every Wednesday and when I got my paper yesterday I was delighted to see that there was nearly a full page in total dedicated to answering my letter. I am going to post these answers and reply to them here rather than write another letter to the editor because I simply do not want to continue monopolizing the space of the paper, but I do want the Dodge County News to know that I am eternally grateful for their inclusion of my letter and it’s responses – the media is so often either a lame duck or a slanted medium to push policies and opinions of it’s editors that I find it very refreshing that even in my small conservative town a voice of dissent (and in my opinion a voice of reason) is not silenced despite the pressures that the editor may receive from various parties. It means a LOT to me that they allowed my voice to be heard and that tells me that this paper is one of integrity – Dodge County is lucky to have it.

I am breaking this up into two separate posts because this entry will be over 5000 words if I do not, the two shorter responses will be on this post and a very long response from the pastor that was a target of my original TEA Party letter will be on another post.

July Fourth – Religious Holiday?

The first response I would like to reply to is one that comes from a misunderstanding of the writer, and evidently a few other folks. While at the TEA party there was an individual standing outside the grounds at which the rally was being held that started yelling at Rev. Hicks, the speaker that I spent most of my letter complaining about, things that were pretty well in agreement with what I said in my letter. The individual yelled something to the effect of, “What the hell does this have to do with taxes?” among other things that I couldn’t quite make out. Though I agree with the general sentiment of the heckler (as I will call him henceforth), that heckler was not I nor was it anyone within my company at the time. The most protesting I did whilst at the rally was shaking my head at some of the things the speakers were saying, but I did not yell or interrupt the speakers at any point. The letter is as follows:

Editor, There was a letter in the paper July 8,2009 addressing the contents of the T.E.A. party held on July 4, 2009. The person that wrote the article would, by his actions, like to silence the tone on born again Christians.
The 4th of July holiday was picked by those that planned the gathering with the intention of giving a Christian tone, because the 4th of July is a holiday that is celebrated across our nation thanking God for the privilege of assemble. I was one of the people that was in the planning, paying my money and time to have the right to select the speakers that we wanted and giving the right to even an atheist the privilege to attend. Take notice that we did advertise that we would have barbecue, yet this intruder elected not to participate. He brought his own and stayed out of the venue that had been reserved for the TEA Party. By his actions, his purpose was not to come and listen, but was to cause trouble. The 4th of July is a holiday that was selected for Christians to assemble, and if the atheist that wrote the article really wants to organize something for his cause, he should locate and rent an old phone booth and invite all that wants to hear him. He could hold this gathering on the atheist holiday, which is April 1. At least he wouldn’t be bothered by any born again Christians to heckle him. In closing, Mr. Oxley has the right to be wrong. JW (Initials for privacy)
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Gay Marriage: A Cause for All!

GayMarriageflagThe Iowa Supreme Court recently struck down a ban on same sex or gay marriage. I personally could not be happier for the homosexual constituents of Iowa and am glad to see that many are now getting married to their loved ones. Some, however, cannot leave well enough alone… There were already people lined up ready to protest this decision just hours after it was made. Some Christians are currently in outrage, and I really want to know why…What will it harm the “family” to expand it’s definition to same sex couples? Will it in any way affect the way you guide and lead your own family?

I may have been really liberal as a Christian (I wasn’t on any other issue), but this is one of those issues I just couldn’t

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