Views on pop culture through my eyes

Posts tagged ‘religion’


toleranceThese are definitely strange times we are living in. There are new scandals every day coming out of the White House. Then you hear about all these horrible events in everyday lives too: murders, rapes, gangs, hate crimes, senseless shootings and more.

What happened to tolerance? I know the gay community has pushed for acceptance. It is a nice fantasy to say that it will happen in our lifetime. Acceptance means that you have a favorable reception to things. Again, what is wrong with pushing for tolerance?

I know that I am much more accepting of things now, than I was growing up. I grew up in a conservative Catholic family. If someone had premarital sex, did drugs, abused alcohol, cheated on their spouse, the person was a sinner. There was no black and white with it.

Now that I am an adult, who is more spiritual than religious, I have a different view of things. Life is complicated — and there is no right way to live your life. What is right for one person may not be right for another person.

For me, tolerance means looking the other way and accepting that there are people who are different than I am. They may be a different race, religion, culture, sex, age, etc. But the bottom line is that they are a fellow human on this planet. And they deserve to be treated as they matter — even if I disagree with them. This seems to be a radical idea these days.

Do I disagree with white supremeists and racists? Yes — but I respect their humanity. These people have family, friends and loved ones just like I do. They have hopes, dreams and desires for their life — just like I do. They are made of flesh and blood just like I am.

If we were all more tolerant in this world, the world would be a better place. Back when gay marriage was illegal, I didn’t have an issue with someone who was against it. I did have an issue with laws being enacted to hurt a class of citizens.

There are people I don’t agree with in this world: Republicans, racists, sexists, devil worshipers, drug and alcohol junkies, ignorant people, users and more. But I am tolerant of said individuals — I respect their humanity. They have a right to life just as much as I do. I don’t have to be their friend, and I don’t want them to be either. If we are both in a public space, they can stay in their area and I can stay in mine.

This is what I mean by tolerance. Let those people live their lives, and I will live mine. They don’t have to like me, or accept me. I am not asking for that. I am asking for being decent to one another. Treating other people with kindness and compassion. I am reminded of “If you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say anything at all.” I am fine with this idea. You don’t have to say hello to me at the grocery store or shake my hand in church. Don’t hurt me physically, emotionally or those I love. I don’t think I am asking for a lot.

But in today’s world, this seems to be asking for a lot. Again, back to the Prop. 8 campaign. When my partner (and future husband) were making calls in favor of gay marriage, I was told by a few people that I was going to hell and they wanted to kill me. I would NEVER say that to another human being, even if I felt it! God is the ultimate judge (at least in my world).

The world is made up of a wide variety of people. To me the world would be a boring place if we were all the same. I say we need to bring back tolerance in this world. You live your life, and I will live mine. I will respect your humanity. I ask you to do the same.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.


Exactly How are You Harmed?

Now that same sex marriage is spreading across the country, I am reading more and more articles about how people that have strong religious objections to it are being marginalized. Like suddenly they are the victims now — worrying about being discriminated against. Boo hoo!Christmas 2010

Are these people serious? One of the great things about this country is freedom of speech, and the ability to speak your mind. I have no problem with people saying they don’t get or understand my life. I don’t get yours! I was brought up to believe that we are all equal. And that God was for everyone. He doesn’t discriminate.

You can hate the fact that I can marry my partner of 25 years, but that doesn’t give you the right to pass laws saying that I can’t. You can hold up protest signs outside churches that allow same sex marriages, and “All Fags Go to Hell” signs during gay pride. I have no problem with either. It’s your life, and you can do with it as you like.

What I don’t get is why continue to focus on a losing battle? What do you achieve by putting out so much negative energy about something that disturbs you? Don’t you have a life, or a family/community that you could spend some positive energy on?

Are there hungry and poor people in your community that you could help? Are there people who have lost their jobs or homes that you could lend a hand to? Is someone facing a terminal illness that can use some serious prayers? What about a married couple who is going through a rough patch and could use some counseling? These are all worthy causes for so-called religious people to get involved with.

From what I get — the people that are so damned upset, probably don’t even know a gay person, or would cut a gay person out of their lives if someone came out to them. They don’t want to know us, be our friends, or be our neighbors. Again, the feeling is mutual.

How exactly are you being harmed by same sex marriage now? Inquiring minds want to know. Maybe it’s the fact that you are now a social outcast for your beliefs. You used to be invited to all the best parties and such, but now that word has gotten out, you are not being invited anymore. Maybe you are jealous of the fact that the gay couple down the street appears more in love than you do with your spouse of 10 years. Stuff like this may be happening. Oh well! You don’t have to believe everything your church preaches. You have free will.

I pray for you, and hope that one day you will see what really matters in life. At the end of the day it’s two people in love getting married and that’s it. And couldn’t we all use more love in the world.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Speedos lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

Religious Freedom Laws

Just last week, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoed Bill 2153, otherwise known as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Unfortunately these bills (currently under consideration in 14 other states) are a sad sign of the times under Republican control. Threatened by the momentum that same-sex marriage and gay rights have made in this country, these cowards are hiding behind their Bibles claiming they have a right to “religious objections”.No Gays Allowed

This comes on the heels on various lawsuits filed by gay couples around the country against vendors who did not want to provide flowers, cakes or photography for their same-sex weddings. I don’t get the idea of filing one of these lawsuits to begin with. But that is me. If I found out someone didn’t want to do business with me because I was gay — I would find another gay-friendly vendor, and not try to make a point to some homophobic business. I could see rallying against the companies on a personal blog, Facebook post or Yelp even. But I wouldn’t file a lawsuit.

Now these poor prosecuted “Christians” are claiming that they are the victims in all of this. They can’t run their businesses how they want to, because some gay people may hypothetically want to use their services for their hellful abomination of a same-sex wedding.

I was brought up to believe that people are created equal and that you treated people the same way you wanted to be treated: with respect and dignity. Not that one person was better than another because they believed a certain way, or went to a certain church, or voted for a certain politician.

In just the past few years, a Mennonite bistro in Iowa, a Kentucky art gallery, and a New Mexico photography shop have had to defend themselves in court against discrimination complaints from gay couples. Christian activists have argued that what’s at stake is “the fundamental freedom of every citizen to live and work according to their beliefs,” as Jordan Lorence, a senior counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom, told The New American magazine in December.

Smartly, Jan Brewer did veto the bill. But not sure if she thought it was just wrong or it made more sense financially for her to veto it. Turns out corporate America was putting pressure on her (including American Airlines and the NFL) — threatening to take away business from the state.

So what happens to the pending legislation in the other states? Will they all go down in flames, or will one actually make it to law, only to be challenged immediately? What I don’t get is how they are supposed to verify if the person is even religious at all. They might just hate gays and have never been to church. Are they going to give them a Bible quiz or verify if they are going to church every Sunday?

Bottom line, these laws are just hate — posing as so-called “religious freedom”. Those upset about gays… need to get over it. They need to pray… and see that we are children of God too.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and  Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

Gays and Scouts

The Boy Scouts will be reaching a decision in the coming months about whether to admit gay people into their ranks (As scout masters and as scouts themselves). This is coming after the recent victories at the ballot box for gay marriage, the end of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and the President’s support for gay marriage too.Boy Scouts

While I was never a Boy Scout as such, I was part of the Cub Scouts (Webelos to be exact). Cub Scouting is part of the Scouting program of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), available to boys from first through fifth-grade, or 7 to 11½ years of age and their families. Its membership is the largest of the three BSA divisions (Cub Scouting, Boy Scouting, and Venturing). Cub Scouting is part of the worldwide Scouting movement and aims to promote character development, citizenship training, and personal fitness.

I remember going on an overnight camping trip with the group. We hiked, did crafts, played games, sang and more. I didn’t know at the time I was in the Scouts that I was gay. I did feel different at times, because I was more of a book worm, and not an athletic person. And I was shy too.

I didn’t stay on with the Scouts for whatever reason, but I enjoyed the time I had with them. As for allowing gay people in the troops and as troop leaders, I am glad that they are having this discussion. I see similar conversations happening around dinner tables, in churches and in the workplace.

Wouldn’t it be nice to know that being gay didn’t matter? I didn’t choose this for myself, I just happened to be. I believe that I was born gay. I want a world where all children are treated the same. They are encouraged, mentored and challenged to be the best young people they can be.

Growing up can be tough on anyone… but more so for gays and lesbians. You often don’t have the love or support of your family or your church for who you are or even who you might be. You tend to beat yourself up and put yourself down because you don’t quit fit the norm.

A decision from the Boy Scouts was supposed to be made back in February, but it is being delayed until May. The Boy Scouts acknowledged the delay saying the issue of sexual orientation was too complex and needed more time for study.

The approximately 1,400 voting members of the national council will take action on the resolution at the national meeting in May in Grapevine, Texas. The move came amid declining membership, questions by corporate sponsors and public pressure from activists who oppose the current national ban.

“Today the Boy Scouts of America have chosen to remain irrelevant by delaying the vote,” said James Dale, who was expelled from the Scouts in 1990 for being openly gay. “For over 23 years, since I was expelled from the Scouts, I have held out hope that the Boy Scouts would end their discriminatory policy. With each passing day the Scouts will continue to lose members, sponsors and funding. No parent or child should associate with an organization that sends a toxic message telling children they are immoral if they are gay.”

GLAAD, the nation’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocacy group, condemned the decision to wait. “An organization that serves youth and chooses to intentionally hurt dedicated young people and hard-working parents not only flies in the face of American principles, but the principles of being a Boy Scout,” GLAAD President Herndon Graddick stated.

“The Boy Scouts of America is choosing to ignore the cries of millions, including religious institutions, current Scouting families, and corporate sponsors, but these cries will not be silenced. We’re living in a culture where hurting young gay people because of who they are is unpopular and discriminatory. They had the chance to end the pain this ban has caused to young people and parents; they chose to extend the pain.”

Those seeking to keep the ban were also vocal. A majority of the Boy Scout organizations are sponsored by local churches, many of which have religious objections to homosexuals.

President Obama even weighted in on the issue: “My attitude is that gays and lesbians should have access and opportunity the same way everybody else does in every institution and walk of life,” said Obama, who as U.S. president is the honorary president of BSA.

Whatever happens, I am glad that they are having this discussion. I hope the message they send with their decision is one of inclusion and diversity.

Spice69man is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and  Rock the Kilt lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.


Coming Out — It Matters

I came out of the closet a long time ago, I knew by my late teens that I was gay. It wouldn’t be until years later that my family knew about it. This has been an amazing year for gay rights. More and more individuals are coming out, we are getting some respect from the White House, and we can now serve in the military openly.

I saw a headline that read “So Anderson Cooper is Gay? Does it Matter?” Yes it does. Let me tell you why.

The more of us that come out, the more we have a voice. We are no longer the hidden minority. We are your sons, daughters, friends, coworkers, neighbors, and those driving in the car next to you.Coming Out Day

When I was dealing with coming to terms with myself, I didn’t know anyone who was gay. I didn’t know anyone in school, or in my family. I don’t remember seeing anyone on TV (except for those who seemed to be very troubled). I felt so alone. You were primed to think you were going to lead a lonely, miserable life as a gay person.

Those were the media views, then you had religion to deal with also. As a Catholic, you were supposed to abstain from sex until you were married (to a person of the opposite sex). Gays were “welcomed” to the church, but we are told to be celibate and abstain from having sex. Not to mention the guilt factor. I prayed and prayed that God would change me. I didn’t want to be this way.


Blended Spirituality

This is a term I am hearing more and more of these days. Are we evolving as spiritual beings, and appreciating that there can be more than one right answer? I certainly hope so.

I was born and raised a Catholic. I went to Catholic school for 13 years. My faith has been important in my life. When I first cam out, my Mom seemed more concerned with me still being Catholic, than she was of me being gay.Spirituality Does Not Oppress

In adulthood, I have gone to various churches: Metropolitan Community Church, Unity Fellowship, Church of Religious Science, Lutheran and other Christian churches. I even tried out a new church in the Valley recently: Freedom Church. It is an offshoot of Foursquare, with an indie/rock vibe. But the community that has resonated with me the best has been St. Monica Catholic Community in Santa Monica, California. It is a very welcoming, gay-friendly parish and I know that I have made some lifelong friends there.

Besides St. Monica, one of the places we go to on a regular basis now is Agape International Spiritual Center. This is the church founded by the Rev. Dr. Michael Bernard Beckwith. He was one of the featured teachers in “The Secret” video. It is a new-thought ancient wisdom place of worship. They have spiritual readings from many sources, including the Bible. They appreciate the teachings of Jesus, but they are not Bible thumpers in the least. It is more about connecting with the universe, community and becoming the best person you can be. The message is there to lift you up, inspire you and make us better individuals.


I’m Gay and I Pray

I was born and raised Catholic. I went to Catholic school for 13 years. I was baptized, had my first communion and confirmation. I went to church every Sunday.

As an adult, I have continued my relationship with God. But I have found there is a big difference between religion and spirituality. I have also had to make peace with sexuality and the church. I was made to feel there was something wrong with me because I was gay. I prayed and prayed for God to change me. The more research and life experience I had I came the conclusion that I was born this way. There was nothing wrong with me! Being gay is a gift from God.We Are All God's Children

I hate the fact that the Religious Right has soiled/perverted the word “Christian” — to me, they are anything but. God is Love, love for all mankind: We are all equal: man, woman, gay, straight, married or not, rich or poor, white, black, hispanic, asian, etc. God loves all of us. Yet the religious right wants us to feel otherwise — that some of us are better than others.

When the Prop. 8 campaign was happening in California in 2008, my partner and I joined in the fight to keep gay marriage in the state. We did a lot of phone calls, plus we stood on a street corner and waved signs for the cause. The “Christians” we encountered during this time are some of the most hateful persons I have ever dealt with. I was told I was going to hell, that I was sick/perverted, that they wanted to murder us, and they wished that I would die. All of this because I love somebody of the same sex.


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