What a Terrifying World
What a horrific, terrifying world we live in today. It seemingly gets worse with each passing day. As many strive to move forward, forgetting and forgiving past prejudices, some find it increasingly more difficult to allow them to pass. What baffles me is why anyone feels the need to discriminate or meddle in what doesn’t concern them? If two men fall in love, or two women, who are we to tell them they can’t be in love? Why does that automatically make them pedophiles when there is no evidence to support such an accusation? Why does that make so many priests whom have been indicted of sexual assault against underage boys any better than a gay couple who simply wants to live their own lives? Why must we label anyone? We are simply, human. There are so many more questions and no one can offer a substantial answer to justify the prejudices they feel.
Humans are born with only two innate fears: the fear of falling and the fear of loud noises. All of our succeeding fears are learned, patterned, and sometimes irrational in nature. I played drums for many years and was able to quell my fear of loud noises for a time. Instinctually, it has returned now that I no longer play. I have always been afraid of falling. We can adapt our fears to suit our own needs, and many, seemingly, do. We can also reverse our fears if we take the time to acknowledge what and why it is certain things scare us.
For a time, I can admit to being afraid of that which I didn’t understand; homosexuals, transsexuals and the LGBTQ community in large. I was taught that those things were sins and it was wrong to support sin. But Jesus taught we are to love our neighbors, our enemies and one another relentlessly, but never with caveats or qualifications. Jesus’ teachings were not meant to give us, in the flesh, the grounds to police the lives of others. We are to use his words and direction to address the shortcomings of our own lives. None of us are perfect. None of us ever will be.
I imagine if Jesus were to walk among us now, he wouldn’t be found where most think he would. I don’t see Jesus spending his days in the churches of today. I wholeheartedly believe he would be on the streets, talking to those whom have been cast out in one way or another. Jesus loved. It was that simple.
As I’ve grown older, I’ve began to see more clearly as to what I feel truly happens to many people. They get hung up on an idea and hide behind a teaching, phrase, chapter of whatever religion they choose to follow and utilize it as means to justify hateful actions against those whom choose to live differently. I’ve met many LGBTQ people throughout my adult life, be it in college or elsewhere. It’s not as uncommon as one may believe. I know a few transgender individuals. I have always found them to be some of the kindest people out there. Unreasonably so given the plight they face. Across the globe, LGBTQ people are murdered for choosing such a life, many of those whom set these horrific laws in place are those deeply-seated in religion. Even in America, we continue to persecute others based on their lifestyles behind the doors of their homes.
Several years ago, I saw photos posted to that popular social media site of a lesbian couple who had recently wed following a shift in the laws in their state of residence. By my upbringing and the church’s view, this should have outraged and disconcerted me. I should have unfriended them immediately. I should have told them how wrong they were, how sinful they were but I didn’t. Their wedding photos showed just how incredibly happy they were and I can admit I may have been a tad jealous of that happiness. After all, I’ve never known love and joy that strong in either of my two relationships. I prayed about it, in depth, and wondered how anyone could ever feel it was their place to take that joy away from someone else based solely on the fact that it was a different choice. What gave me, the church, Christians, Muslims, the government, the right to disallow anyone to be happy in their own lives? How would Jesus handle the situation? Would he belittle them, harass or embarrass them? I don’t believe so. I don’t believe a man who loved people as much as he did, so much so that he gave his life for such love, would condemn anyone who chooses love over hate.
I left the church nearly a decade ago. The viewpoints and actions of the churches I was a part of did not match what, I believed, my God would approve of. They were hypocrites. Some were snakes. They would preach love and support but in turn wouldn’t act in like manner. The leaders were more concerned with the image they had in the public eye than they were the health of it’s people or congregation. I watched as my best friend was accused, wrongly, and manipulated to a point where the church had grounds to fire her. The pastor and a deacon of the congregation worked against her to remove her from a job she so dearly loved in order to make way for another individual they felt would operate in the manner they desired. It was ugly. The God I choose to serve would, in no way, approve of that deviance in his church. I’d imagine if Jesus witnessed that, tables would be thrown again. It was disgusting.
Our world is disgusting. How we can feasibly live with ourselves in 2016 with so much hatred, bickering, intolerance is beyond me. Get over yourself. We are one race; human. We are one people. Act like it.
It’s a very different world than I imagined growing up. I was bullied as a kid for having short hair and wearing baggy clothes. I’ve been called lesbian, although I identify as straight and have only ever been intimate with men. I still have the same short hair. It’s just grayer now. I still choose to wear baggy, more masculine clothes. I wear what I find comfortable and what helps me have the confidence I need to go out into the world. The emotional scars I carry from my childhood and from the bullying I received leave me feeling low, at times, so I dress in a way to make myself comfortable in my own skin. I tolerate, at best, my own self because I was told I was “too different to be loved” or “no one would ever love me” or “I’d date you but you’d have to grow your hair and changes your attire.” Our current culture of hatred, bred from religion, has me and many in this world living in fear and terror because we choose to live our lives the way we feel is right for us. You don’t have to like me. You don’t have to agree with my choices or opinions but I am still human. I am still a life to be valued as are the ones standing in front of, beside or in back of me. We all matter and we are all equal. Wake up and smell the progress.
I can’t imagine the level of hatred and anger that leads someone to murder 50 people and injure another 50. I can’t imagine the level of hatred and anger for an individual to blow up an abortion clinic or shoot up a cinema but our culture and, now, our leaders, are further breeding that hatred. We are reverting back to cavemen when it’s not necessary. It took millions of years for the human race to reach a population of billions. In the last 50-60, we’ve nearly doubled. We aren’t an endangered species. Let people live as they choose not persecuted because they don’t fit your pre-conceived notion of “normal.”
Following the attacks on 9/11/01, lifestyle choices, skin color, creeds, ethnicities didn’t seem to matter. We became one nation. I have never seen a unification as great as that in my life. And now, 15 years later, we’re more divided than we ever have been in my 34 years. Time to wake up, America.
Live and let live.