Sunday, May 17, 2015

No, Marriage Equality Does Not Threaten Your Religion

It is irritating to me that I feel as though I have to write this post, but I do so I am.

Here we go:

Marriage, historically, is not about religion.    Marriage has traditionally been about property -- a commercial exchange that had very little to do with religion, or love, or even sex and had a lot to do with dowries and bloodlines and power and politics.

If you are going to argue for "traditional" marriage? The tradition of marriage as a property exchange is far older than what you're referencing and -- so that you're aware -- is still how marriage works.

Wait, did you say no? Did you say that I am incorrect?

Then please allow me to submit to you:

The Prenuptial Agreement

The prenup is the best (but not the only) example of the fact that marriage is not a religious institution but a civil and legal one that is -- in many ways -- defined by an exchange and blending of property. If that were not the case, prenuptial agreements would not -- and could not -- exist. If marriage were simply a religious institution, no lawyers would be involved before, to discuss how property is to be protected and distributed in the chance that the marriage fails, and -- if marriage was only religious in nature -- lawyers and judges could not create divorce decrees. Only clergy could.

There are words for societies that let their religious beliefs dictate their laws and the rights of their citizens. There are names for policies designed to oppress groups of people because you think they're worth less than you are.

I hate to think that the United States would be willing to become such a place. I hate to think that it could become a place where something as simple as  -- writing a blog, say -- could be transgressive and threatening and potentially illegal.

Did you say no, no, that couldn't happen? That there is a separation of church and state, and there is freedom of speech?

There SHOULD be a separation of church and state, I agree. But if you start allowing religious beliefs to dictate the legal rights of citizens then you have also to agree that separation of church and state is a myth. Once you start down that path, it is a very short journey to a country ruled by religion -- and you'd better hope that religion is yours, I guess, because otherwise? You could lose a lot.

You could lose everything.

That's another lesson that history teaches.

If you think that I am arguing for a country in which churches are forced to perform marriage ceremonies that are against the code of conduct that their faith demands, however, you are wrong. Marriage is a legal institution. A wedding? Frequently is not. Churches and clergy can feel free to say, no, we won't perform that ceremony and they can do it for a variety of faith-based reasons. I have personal experience with this, as I was not allowed to get married in the church I attended all of my life, due to ... Um ... 

Well, probably the fact that I write stuff Iike this didn't help. 

When that happens? You make other plans because a wedding might be able to be a religious event but ... And here it comes again ... Marriage is always a legal one. As such, if a clergy person won't marry you, it is possible (and easy) to find someone designated as an agent of the law who will and BECAUSE marriage is not a religious institution, your marriage? VALID. Real. You are legally married with all of the rights and legal obligations that come with your newly wed status.

Marriage equality does not threaten your religion. Your religion will be just fine if two people of the same sex are legally allowed to marry. Unfortunately, a religious insistence on marriage inequality being written into law could have a damning impact on the future of this country, creating laws that legalize discrimination and intolerance. 

Who's threatening who?

Friday, May 15, 2015

What Wouldn't Jesus Do?

I am continually amazed... and bothered... by people who argue against loving your gay neighbor and uplifting the poor and taking care of each other but who claim to love and follow Jesus. 

Really, y'all should be ashamed. 

I am not any kind of theology student, but thanks to my parents, spent a LOT of time in a Fundamentalist church, so I know a couple of things (even though I'm a girl, which -- and this is a Fundie joke -- renders my knowledge useless) about Jesus.

I know he fought for the underdog. The poor, the oppressed, the downtrodden? They were Jesus's homies. If you said to Jesus, "I can't serve this person because she's Latina/Muslim/gay/illegal/transgendered/an addict/a Yankees fan" he would look at you sadly. Because Jesus? Did not care about those things. Jesus believed everyone is worthy. Everyone is valuable. Everyone deserves rights and fairness and love simply by virtue of being human and alive, which makes everyone -- everyone!!! -- a child of God.

I might not be a good Christian ... I've been publicly prounonced a crappy one, actually ... But I get the Jesus loves everyone (even you, Yellie, with your shitty Christian-ness) thing.

So. People being mean to other people but at the same time declaring themselves as being FOR Jesus bother me, because I feel like Jesus? Would be sad to see how much meanness is done in his name, how much cruelty is inflicted on his "behalf," and how often he is invoked as a reason to for people to be hateful to each other.

It makes me sad.

And it makes me sad when, as a society, we punish a crime by committing a crime. It makes me sad when we say, as Ron White once put it, "if you kill someone... we'll kill you back" because I don't understand the death penalty on any level, but it is especially confusing to me that it is supported by so many people who claim, sometimes feverishly, that they love and follow Jesus. Because I don't claim to always know what Jesus WOULD do, but I know that he was big on forgiveness and love and redemption, and execution sort of ... Negates ... Anyone's opportunity to turn her or his life around; if I'm remembering my lessons properly, Jesus actually died to offer that opportunity for everyone. Not just some people. Not just good people or people who agree with you or saintly Red Sox fans. ALL PEOPLE.

I don't always know what Jesus would do.

But I feel like I know what he wouldn't do.

Maybe that's the more important question to ask.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Bikini. Body.

I have friends -- people I love lot -- who have recently become weight loss crusaders. They are not personal trainers, exactly, as much as lifestyle coaches. Their social media feeds are filled with workouts! Diet shakes! Wraps!

Which ... Okay. I want them to be happy. I want them to be successful.

And I don't want to unfollow them, but I've been thinking lately that I might not have a choice.

I've spoken of this before, but I don't think it can be stressed enough. I was the fat girl growing up, which... Well, it sucked. Children can be mean. I was also the sick, nerdy, fat girl, so getting picked last for everything? Was just the way it was. Being made fun of meant it was a day that ended in "y". That's how it was. Whatever.

I started losing weight in college. For a little while, I looked great. And then I passed into another plane of weight loss, the one where people were afraid for me. The one where people asked me if I was really sick, if I had cancer or some other potentially fatal illness. The one where I was actually afraid I might die.

Then my grandfather did die, and I realized that I needed to -- and wanted to -- live. 

It wasn't an easy decision. 

It wasn't an easy path.

But I'm still here, goddamn it. I'm still here.

I weigh more than I want to weigh. I weigh more than my ex-doctor wants me to weigh. Despite her knowledge of my history she harps on my weight to the point that I avoid her -- even when I'm really sick -- because I can't bear the lecture, and I can't keep my brain from cycling through a horrible litany of the ways in which I am wrong, my body is wrong, and I am not worthy of being here.

This is a lie, by the way.

But it's hard for me to remember it.


When The Fella tells me I'm beautiful? It's hard to stifle the voice in my head that says, "no. But you were once. And you could be again. Just stop eating. It's easy."


For the record? It's not easy.

For the record, it's horrible, painful, and all consuming.


So. I can't sign up with you, coaches and wrap sellers and purveyors of lifestyles. I can't. Because I'm trying to learn to tie my brain and my body together and live in both of them. I'm trying to make our relationship here mildly less dysfunctional. I'm trying to believe that beauty and worth can't be found in a shake or a size or a reading on a scale.

I'm trying to ... And getting better about ... Wrap my arms around the notion that to have a bikini body? You take a body (yours) and put a bikini on it. I already believe that everyone else on this earth is beautiful and amazing and worthy.

I'm still working on the part where I am.

Maybe I always will.