My cerebral sabbatical came to an abrupt and painful end with the news of the massacre in Orlando and its aftermath. But other important things have happened during my absence and I have so many things to say I don’t quite know where to begin. So I will simply list them.
Most people abhor what happened at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. Most… but not all.
As if this act of terror and hate weren’t enough, I had to be subjected to the rants of Fundamentalist Christians condoning the terrorist’s actions. To date, I have found seven pastors of primarily Baptist congregations, who have not only applauded the massacre of gay people and others, but have openly regretted that the terrorist hadn’t killed all of them!
The first two pastors that I heard speak made me sick to my stomach with their vitriol and blatant bigotry based on “righteousness.” They quote passages from Leviticus while Muslims cite corresponding passages in the Koran. Their level of hate is equal. Both the oh, so reverent Christian and the devout, though conflicted Muslim, each base their hate on what they believe is the “truth” as fostered by their preachers or imams who spew forth bull#@%&.”
But hate is not the trademark of any one religion. All of them are quite capable of finding somewhere in their scriptures a justification for their vile thoughts and actions. When I heard Pastor Perry Noble of NewSpring Church in South Carolina and hate leader and pastor Steven Anderson spread their bigotry on YouTube, I was stunned that anyone who identified as a Christian could be so full of oceanic violence and rage.
Both of them felt blessed that the world had been rid of “pedophiles” and “sodomites.” In his first video, Anderson said there are “50 less pedophiles in this world.” In his second video, he criticized any Christians who showed empathy for those killed in the massacre. Obviously, both of them know very little about gay people or culture or the LGBTQ community, or the fact we have been around since the dawn of history.
I thought these two were outliers, but they were soon followed by the Westboro Baptist Church, a Baptist pastor in Sacramento, Pat Robertson himself, and worst of all, Religious Right activist “Coach” Dave Daubenmire .
On his show “Pass the Salt,” Daubenmire claimed that the people murdered in the Orlando shooting were sacrificed by the devil to advance his larger goal to implement gun control. Daubenmire said that he believes Islam is “the new religion” and “anybody who’s against this new religion, they’re going to get it.”
It seems as if my fingers can still get the words on the page, but I am having a hard time wrapping my head around that demographic which is wallowing in so much hate. I am reminded of The Upstairs Lounge arson attack in New Orleans. It took place on June 24, 1973. The Upstairs Lounge was a gay bar located on the second floor of a three-story building. Thirty-two people died as a result of the deliberate attack.
I remember this tragedy quite well. Editorials and talk radio hosts made light of the event. Some even said, “Let the fairies burn.” We in the LGBTQ community are used to being reviled, beat up, and discriminated against. We have been persecuted for hundreds of years. Are you as disgusted as I am? Or do you have to be gay and an atheist as I am?
I naively thought that those days were gone. We have marriage equality and anti-discrimination laws. We are safe now, aren’t we? Some friends warned me not to get complacent… that it wasn’t over and the backlash was yet to come. Was the Orlando attack the beginning of the backlash… a precursor to living in fear again, not going out, and not holding hands in public? Not for this hippie, commie, fag! No way will I give in to fear!
But then, I am old, with barely a libido. Let them stone me for giving my hubby a kiss when I drop him off at the airport. It is the young gay men and women I worry about. They know little of their history, from the Mattachine Society and the Daughters of Bilitis to the Society for Individual Rights and the Human Rights Campaign.
They never experienced Stonewall. Never had their heads bashed in by the police, never refused a job or an apartment, never forced to meet in the shadows, never dragged behind a pickup truck and left on a barbed wire fence to die. Never dared to be yourself in public.
I am sick and tired of those Christian pastors and talk show hosts using their pulpits to monger hate, thereby giving explicit permission to their knuckle-dragging congregation to commit violence against ME in the name of God! Is this better than Isis?
True followers of Jesus need to speak up loudly and clearly that they do not consider these haters to be Christians at all. Christians and their pastors who follow the words of Jesus, his gospel of love and peace, should shame those pastors and the congregations who preach and practice hate.
I love Christianity, or at least the words attributed to Jesus in the New Testament to be more precise. (It would probably take up no more than a pamphlet, for godssakes!)
I also love Hinduism and Islam and Judaism and a great many lesser-known religions, sects and cults. Their rituals fascinate me; their traditions, pageantry and the many ways ignorant or undereducated people worship their fantasy god, fascinates me.
I support the gibberish of all religions as long as they preach love and compassion and follow their own peculiar scriptures that may emulate Jesus’ teachings. As long as the beliefs are harmless, I support them. I always remain suspicious however, because what the Bible thumpers follow are beliefs… not facts. And I want “just the facts, ma’am, just the facts!”
I guess I am going to have to divide church-going people not according to which faith they subscribe, but rather whether they are haters or lovers. I would like to imagine that Jesus himself would hold up both his middle fingers to those Christian haters who applauded the terrorist’s actions. I hope that all of you who understand the power of love will condemn the pastors and their congregations for fomenting hate and violence. This is the result of religious fundamentalism. The specific religion matters not. Religion always pits one person against another. Just like Trump! He and religion are the root of all evil!
Yikes! The guy is an outright Fascist! He probably isn’t even smart enough to know what that is. I am not being sensational. He is a bigot, a racist, and a fascist. Pure and simple. But he is brilliant at creating fear and division… pitting one citizen against another. That’s the scariest part about Donald… not the man, but the people who support him: Evangelicals, Survivalists, Nationists (the nice word for people who are xenophobic,) White Supremacists, and of course, Donald’s favorite people… white guys who never graduated high school… dumb enough to fall for his grandiose lies and promises. Think back to the Bundy family, Clive and Ammon, the latter who occupied the Bonheur National Wildlife Refuge, and their armed, militant supporters demanding that MY/OUR Federal lands be turned over to the ranchers. What gall! These kinds of people comprise Donald’s base. There may be others who are just confused and frustrated, but their ignorance is equally alarming.
Now with this Orlando terrorist attack, Donald and the NRA will claim if only more of those young men and women dancing to the happy beat of the Pulse were armed, less people would have died. He immediately pounces on Hillary, accusing her of wanting to take away the precious Second Amendment. How hypocritical of him not to allow guns at his rallies. He says it’s out of his control. If he had his way, open-carry would be allowed at his rallies and the GOP convention. Hah! That’ll be the day!
We have put restrictions on the First Amendment. It is illegal to yell “fire” in a movie theater. Why then can’t we put restrictions on the Second Amendment? Is it more sacrosanct than the First?
Wearing a seatbelt is mandatory when driving in a car. Why then can it not be mandatory, especially with today’s technology, to require gun manufacturers to make guns that only the owner may fire… through some kind of biometrics? We made the auto industry comply with changes that made automobiles safer. Why can’t we make the weapons industry comply with changes that make firing a gun safer and kept away from all except the owner?
Donald is alarming in his ignorance of the Constitution and separation of powers. If he had his way, he’d bring back waterboarding and worse, kill all family members of any terrorist, conduct enhanced surveillance of Muslim neighborhoods, ban all Muslims from entering the country. Oh, you know his vitriolic drivel! (Nova Scotia btw, has offered asylum to any American if Trump gets elected.)
I blame the media for the rise of Donald Trump to presumptive GOP nominee. Surprisingly, I found MSNBC to be the worst offender, often broadcasting his rallies from beginning until the very end. All the while, Hillary and Bernie were getting the short end of the stick, with only sound bites and snippets from their gatherings. Though MSNBC may have been the worst, the other major stations weren’t much better. Most of the journalists were namby pamby, quaking in their shoes for fear they might offend the Mighty Donald. These days they are getting braver and their questions more incisive… though they usually go unanswered.
I applaud the media for trying not to use the Orlando attackers name, or as little as possible. I think they should just refer to him as “the coward” or some really shameful Arabic word. If all media referred to him as “the coward” and not by name, perhaps jihadists thinking to perpetrate some terror would think twice if he or she knew they would get absolutely no credit for their unspeakable deed.
It would be such a coup, now that Donald has taken away the Washington Post’s press passes, if the media outlets would unite and refuse to cover any more events of Donald’s. If he can take away the press passes of one newspaper, how many more will he take away if he becomes President and has a tizzy fit over a slighting remark by some anchor or columnist? What a bunch of wusses the media are!
Oh yeah, you know I feel the Bern! He is the only candidate who can return democracy to this country. Yes, I have faced facts and he will not be President and will not initiate all those wonderful benefits that other modern nations have had for decades. But even before new institutions can be built, the old ones must be destroyed. Only Bernie can do it!
First, get rid of Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. She’s no good. She talks a good talk, but has been unfair from the get go to the Sanders campaign. Bernie had to fight for more debates, fight her over the scheduling of the debates, fight for the Democratic database of voters, fight her to pry her fingers off Hillary and be fair to all candidates. She has to go!
Bernie has to persuade the Democratic Party (and then the GOP) to get rid of caucuses, delegates, super delegates, and the Electoral College. Until we have only primaries, which are decided by direct popular vote, not delegates, true democracy will not be part of our political landscape.
But should this eventually occur, we would see how much easier it is to get all the things that Bernie wanted. First, bring back pure democracy. Then campaign finance reform. Only then can the will of the people be fully manifested. And I trust the will of the majority of Americans, if allowed to be expressed, will choose Medicare for All, free tuition at public colleges paid for by the brilliant idea of a tiny speculation tax on every trade made on Wall Street. Our infrastructure will be rebuilt, clean energy jobs will abound, the middle class will return. All this requires is political will, a body politic free from big money, lobbyists and the military/industrial/media complex. Of course, I will be dead by then… or will I?
Eat the Rich with Love,
The Unapologetic Hippie
PS: I may as well change the title of this site to “The Sporadic Blogger,” because I disappear for long periods of time (sometimes for good reason, other times for no good reason.) Then something happens and I breach the surface of my limitless inner space, gasping for air, and I exist once again in the real world.