Posted: June 20, 2012 at 11:17 pm | Tags: Christianity, equal marriage, lgbtiq, privilege, Religion
I am regularly amazed that some religious folk claim to know the mind of their god. I’m specifically referring to the Judeo-Christian god at this point, I have had insufficient exposure to adherents of other religions to know if there any people who claim to speak on behalf of their god/s (though given people I wouldn’t be surprised).
The god of the Old and New Testament clearly states in the Bible that:
8 “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.
“And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
9 For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so my ways are higher than your ways
and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.
Isaiah 55: 8 – 9 New Living Translation
33 Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways!
34 For who can know the Lord’s thoughts?
Who knows enough to give him advice?
35 And who has given him so much
that he needs to pay it back?
Romans 11: 33-35 New Living Translation
So clearly the mind of at the very least the Christian god is unknowable, inscrutable and unlike any adherent’s own mind, and yet so many people claim to know and even act as if they know, exactly what their god wants.
I’ve always been confused by what god is actually like (even when I was a Christian), because the Bible is rather contradictory about that, god was jealous, loving, peace, all knowing, all powerful, all present, the light, vengeful, etc (nice list here), so clearly knowing what god thought about on any particular topic was impossible.
The Bible itself is contradictory, condemning queer people in one part and then celebrating them in others (the story of Ruth, the story of David and Saul), and then Jesus who allegedly lived during the Roman empire when same-sex relationships were part of society. Nowhere did Jesus (who was allegedly the son of God) actually condemn same-sex relationships, even though they would have been practised by the Roman occupiers of Jerusalem. Those who point to the Bible to condemn queer relationships tend to focus on two main parts of the Bible, Leviticus (while ignoring ALL the other parts of Leviticus that no longer apply in this modern day and age), and the various letters of Paul (while ignoring his other commentary, for the most part, on the role of women both in the church and in relationships, and how the end times were imminent).
So I do not understand how lobbyists from the Australian [un]Christian Lobby, or how someone like Archbishop Peter Jensen can claim, or appear to claim, that they speak not only for themselves and their own fears about queer people, but for the deity they claim to believe in – the one who they should well know they cannot speak for.
If you believe in a deity of some description, I don’t really have a problem with your personal belief, but I do have a big problem with any attempt to shift that personal belief onto the lives of other people because you believe that your deity would be much happier if segments of the population lived miserable and unhappy lives. I have big problems when people’s personal beliefs are treated like the be-all and end-all of all ethical and moral existence, so that in effect the faith you ascribe to is the only source of morality in the world. I have a big problem when personal belief is used to restrict the human rights of other people – because you believe your god (who you cannot know the thoughts of) would be much happier if queer people couldn’t marry their partner of choice.
As I have, and as many other people have, pointed out before – religion has been used to defend slavery, defend not granting equal rights for women, defend racism, defend arranged marriages, defend refusing birth control, defend not providing abortion services, etc – and these things have slowly passed and changed as society has matured.
And as society continues to mature, more will change. Queer people will get the equal rights they seek, and the versus in the Bible that condemn them will be assigned to irrelevancy just as most of Leviticus is now. This change is inevitable and is the right thing to do. Those who cling to homophobia are frightened of change, and I can understand that, but if you profess to love the god of the Bible, then you have to trust that change happens for a reason and god’s inscrutable plan is the way forward. That the god you believe in is in control (because that’s what you believe) and that you shouldn’t fight his/her wishes.
I don’t believe in any god, I believe in doing the right thing because it is right not because I will get some future reward or punishment otherwise. I believe in granting human rights to all regardless of their sexual orientation, race, religion, political opinion, place of origin, etc. My rights will not be diminished by other people having access to the same rights. There is not a finite amount of human rights in the world, which would mean that granting some to a disadvantaged group will take away any of my own rights (it might remove some of my privilege but that’s another story).
It’s time that those who campaign so tirelessly against the equal rights of others and claim that they are doing it for their god, sat down, took a deep breath, and considered whether or not they are acting for their own personal interests and whether they are indeed following the precepts of their own god. Time to examine the plank in their eye before checking the splinter in mine, as well as considering how Jesus treated the disadvantaged of his own time as a lesson on how perhaps you should treat the disadvantaged of today.
Posted: June 20, 2012 at 9:45 pm | Tags: bisexual, equal marriage, lgbtiq, media
I also support “equal marriage” and “same-sex marriage”. I do not support “gay marriage” because that excludes the bisexuals, trans* and intersex individuals that want to marry a same-sex partner. I am also really sick of reading about “gay marriage” in Fairfax publications. Today’s two articles:
MP changes view on gay marriage
Despite Mr Gray’s change of heart, it remains almost certain that the vote on two private members bills seeking to legalise gay marriage will fail.
The opposition has banned a conscience vote and all MPs and senators have been told to vote against gay marriage.
One member of the Left – who holds a marginal seat supports gay marriage but has yet to decide how he will vote – was eager for the vote to be held sooner given the level of emotion it was sparking on both sides of the debate. [emphasis added]
and the second:
Labor to fast-track gay marriage vote
Labor is trying to bring gay marriage to a parliamentary vote sooner rather than later — probably in August — to prevent it diverting attention from other issues and causing the government continuing grief. [emphasis added]
And over the past few days:
Tuesday: Gay marriage debate brought forward
Monday: Greens want conscience vote on gay marriage & Churches lay down law on gay marriage as vote nears & House to debate gay marriage bills
Sunday: Wong says gay marriage will come & MPs abused over gay marriage & Pro-gay marriage MPs get hate mail
I’ve already written about how “gay and lesbian” is not an umbrella term, clearly this is something that Fairfax have failed to grasp, and it is very disappointing. Every time Fairfax writes about “gay marriage” they are excluding bisexuals, trans* and intersex people who want to marry their same-sex partner. Every time Fairfax writes about “gay marriage” they participate in the continued erasure of bisexuals, trans* and intersex people and their same-sex relationships. Every time Fairfax writes about “gay marriage” bisexuals, trans* and intersex people see another article that is not for them and they potentially lose audience.
The most disappointing thing is that many of the quotes used in the articles above from various institutions and individuals, refers to “same-sex marriage” or “marriage equality” or even “equal marriage”. It’s Fairfax that are going out of their way to refer to the campaign for marriage equality as “gay marriage” not the people or institutions they are speaking to. This really makes no sense to me.
I don’t buy the “well it’s shorter than ‘marriage equality’” because they’re not limited in characters. I don’t buy the “well everyone knows what ‘gay marriage’ is but the other terms are confusing” argument, because the individuals and institutions they’re quoting are using “same-sex marriage” etc, and clearly people understand what that is. I honestly believe that Fairfax are being lazy and cannot be bothered being inclusive. This does effectively mean that Fairfax are not interested in maintaining an audience of bisexual, trans* and intersex individuals, because they’re not catering to them. Now I know Fairfax can do better, and I’m happy to take them through an inclusive of the bisexual, trans* and intersex community 101 if necessary, though I will not speak on behalf of the trans* or intersex community, but can happily point them at resources.
Posted: June 7, 2012 at 10:36 pm | Tags: catholic, Christianity, politics, Religion
George Christensen MP (for Mackay to Townsville, QLD), tweeted this:
Wow. Ex @SenatorBobBrown sledges Aust’s top cleric at #NPC. The Church has done more good 4 humanity than Greens ever will.
According to George’s twitter stream, the top cleric referred to is George Pell.
After receiving some very minor, as far as the replies to the original tweet indicate go, criticism of his comment, George posted the following:
The lefty church-hating #twitterwarriors would do less good in their collective lives than most nuns, priests or brothers.
Clearly, in George’s blind faith to the Catholic Church he is forgetting some key history of definitely not good, that the Catholic Church has been involved in – and I do question whether the past (and even the present) can even be forgiven with further good works. Though he has tweeted (on 1 June) that not all Christians are actually Christian when referring to Pastors calling for the killing of those who are LGBTIQ:
@equality4dawson There’s bad in every crowd inc Christians. Ultimately, its the song, not the singers, that matter.
But anyway, back to his comments, suggesting that those who have issues with the Catholic Church do less good in their communities than those who have joined religious orders, as well as the comment that the Catholic Church has done more good for humanity than the Greens ever will.
When you have an organisation that today says that the ordination of women is a sin equally bad as the rape of children by priests, when you have an organisation that calls those who are LGBTIQ “intrinsically disordered“, when you have an organisation that covers up the abuse of children (and the forgotten adults) by paying off priests, moving them between churches, hushing up the abuse, and treating the victims as if it were their own fault, when you have an organisation that tells people that condoms spread aids, when you have an organisation that excommunicates the mother of a 9 year old girl, and the doctor who performed the abortion, but not the father who had repeatedly raped his daughter, because abortion is a far greater sin, and when you have an organisation that believes and teaches that it is better for pregnant women to die than perform a life saving abortion, then you have an organisation that is not doing good for the world.
And that’s just now. If we look at recent history, then we have the Catholic Church’s involvement in Australian politics with the DLP, and we have the Catholic Church and their involvement with the Stolen Generations in Australia.
In less recent history we have the Catholic Church and the witch trials, we have the Catholic Church and the Inquisition, we have the Catholic Church and the pillaging of South America, we have the Catholic Church and conversion by the sword.
I don’t have problems with people stating that the Catholic Church does good things, but I do have a problem when those people don’t acknowledge the big issues that have faced and are facing the Catholic Church. There are indeed many wonderful things certain Catholics and certain Catholic organisations do, but there is still a lot of corruption, and a history and present that is liberally bloodied.
I definitely have a big problem with anyone claiming that the Catholic Church has more “good” than any other organisation in the world, especially given the atrocities previously and currently being performed in the name of the Church. I cannot see how an organisation, one with it’s own country, one with a staggering asset base, one with an amazing number of adherents, still sees so many of their adherents in poverty, is not democratic (and not just the old men voting for other old men, but rather the people the policies affect voting for who is in charge), and seems so resistant to change that so many of its adherents desire.
So George, don’t claim that the Catholic Church has done more good for humanity than the Greens ever will, unless you can really back that claim up with some solid facts. I don’t see how you’re going to manage that without looking like an apologist for an organisation that is still hiding its dirty laundry in the bottom of the cupboard.
Posted: June 5, 2012 at 9:27 pm | Tags: abortion, Christianity, family, Feminism, lgbtiq, pregnancy, race, racism, rape, trans*, violence
This is going to be rather epic, because I’ve been busy, and because I caught up with my RSS feed while I was visiting family and so I have many articles which I found interesting. And since I can’t share them on Google Reader anymore, everyone else gets to enjoy them here.