Category: Religion


There was an article in the Hollywood Reporter recently talking about how Georgia (The state in America), was trying to pass the Free Exercise Protection Act. It allows people, businesses and churches to deny services to gay, lesbians, bisexuals, transgender people, and, I’m guessing, any other people that they don;t like or think should be sent straight to hell.

Specifically, it states… “ministers and pastors cannot be forced to conduct same-sex marriages, faith-based organizations can’t be forced to provide social, educational or charitable services that violate their religious beliefs, and that the government can’t “substantially burden” a person’s exercise of religion unless it involves “a compelling government interest” — thereby extending protections to individuals.”

According to the Humans Right Campaign, this act could… “open the door to discrimination in social services and employment against a wide range of Georgians.” It also argues that taxpayer-funded adoption and foster care agencies, homeless shelters and drug counseling centers would be free to discriminate against LGBT individuals and couples.

Thankfully, there are a lot of people with serious clout against this Act. From Disney and Marvel, who have shot Captain America, Ant-Man and other movies there, to AMC’s The Walking Dead, to the major sport franchises, Coca-Cola, Home Depot, and UPS, to name a few. According to the article, Georgia has become “Hollywood South” with a lot of film industry people and companies working there. If this Act passes, they will pull out of Georgia, leaving a $1.7 BILLION dent in the economy.

But I’m not here to talk about the financial damage this act could cause. I want to talk about the reasoning, if there is any, behind this.

As I see it, the idea behind this Act is to protect religious… ok, Christian religious beliefs from having to deal with those people (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, or LGBT) that Christians don’t like because of their belief system. Despite the fact that the First Amendment gives them that protection already.

There is, of course, a more simple solution. Any business, church, or person who doesn’t want to deal with LGBT people, they should boldly and proudly proclaim their beliefs in their advertising, their websites, social media, store windows, etc. Because in America, freedom of expression, and freedom of religion is everyone’s right! If they don’t to serve certain people because of their beliefs, that is fine. That is their choice. And I’m all about freedom of choice.

There would be some backlash, of course. That is also a freedom of the people, so long as it isn’t slanderous and such. Any violence towards the people or their businesses who don’t want to serve LGBT should be investigated and charged to the fullest extent of the law. After all, they have the right to express their religious beliefs through their businesses, their places of worship, and their homes.

The discrimination doesn’t have to stop there, of course. They could also indicate they don’t want to serve Muslims, Blacks, Latinos, kids, women, and anyone else they deem unworthy, unclean, or against their one true God. After all, it was their God that said to not have any other God before him. So I guess that would include Jews, Sikhs, Hindus, Buddhists, and so on.

But I digress.

I’m not a religious guy. But my Mother is. She reads her Bible every day, which is probably more than some holier-than-thou people out there. If there is a religious thing I need an opinion on, I ask her. But honestly, just from what I have gathered from her, and other people of faith that I know, this Act is bullshit, and pretty much goes against everything God teaches.

Sure there are passages in the Bible that anti-LGBT tout as proof of God’s hatred of them. But if anyone finds hatred in the Bible, especially when talking about the words of God, they are reading the wrong Bible. Besides, anyone can read anything they want in the Bible, or any other book on religion (I’m talking about you Muslim extremists and your screwed up version of the Quran), and twist it to their demented world view.

Does that mean the good, God-fearing Christian folks, as well as the prejudiced jerk-offs, who support this Free Exercise Act are demented? Yeah, pretty much. They are also afraid. They are cowards. They are faithless as well. If the fact that a man and a man getting married causes them such great fear that they need this kind of Act in place to protect themselves, then they must not have much faith in themselves or their religion.

By the way, remember earlier when I mentioned if people put anti-gay alerts on their businesses and that the law should protect their rights to do so? Well, the same would have to go for anyone, including LGBT people. Sad thing is, with racial tension on the rise, financial instability, and the potential for a greedy, self-serving egomaniac to lead the country, you want to bet that any minority (IE: someone who isn’t straight or white) would find themselves in a potentially unfriendly country.

Lets hope that all those big Hollywood names and corporations remember this fight in Georgia, and continue it throughout the land.

 

If you want to read the article I quoted, here’s the link below…

THR Hollywood against Free Exercise Act

The Language of Religion

We think we live in a modern society, with our technology and not throwing people to lions and such. But there are still things that continue to divide us. One of the main things is religion. The popular religion to fear is Islam. Thanks to the events of 9/11, and fear-mongering cowards, people of the Muslim faith were grouped in with the radicalized jihadists. Thankfully for those moronic white folk, most Muslims were easy to spot. If they had dark skin, dark beards and hair, niqabs and other facial or body coverings, they were Muslims, thus, they were evil!

Despite all our advancements, and supposed “civilized society, many people are still governed by what they don’t know or understand, and it is easier to mock or hate that thing, than try to understand it. Same goes for people of different races and sexual orientations.

But recently, I read an article about an exhibit at the British Museum called “Egypt: Faith After the Pharaohs”. It describes a very interesting melting pot during the time after the death of Cleopatra and Mark Antony, when Egypt became part of the Roman empire.

It was during this time that various religions, both old and new, were mixing and, most importantly, cohabitation with each other. One example mentioned shows a grave stone bearing a Jewish name, with Christian symbols next to an ancient Egyptian sign of life, with writing in Coptic Egyptian. In one piece of stone shows someone who accepted Jewish, Christian and ancient Egyptian iconography. Other also show similar mixes with Islamic symbols as well. During that millennium, various faiths and beliefs co-existed and co-mingled.

I’m sure it wasn’t perfect, but the idea that a society thousands of years before us existed where people took bits and pieces of various religions into the life without question or fear is almost mind-boggling when you look at how our society is today.

Sure many people follow their religion today in peace and acceptance of other’s beliefs. But there are many small-minded idiots who can’t seem to accept someone who has different beliefs than them. Then you have the cowards who judge a whole group of people based on the violent and brutal behaviour of a few. They don;t realize that the same could be said about ALL religions, if you dig up the whackos and nutjobs who ruin the reputation of a group for everyone else.

Those people who attack other religions may not realize that their words and actions are exactly what the extremists of the religion being attacked want. They use that negativity to justify their radicalized cause. It’s like a vicious circle. Hate begets hate.

But it isn’t the extremists who try to keep people divided. Regular people too can be part of what keeps religions apart. In the Ten Commandments, God says “Thou shalt have no other gods before me”. Pretty much everyone who remains faithful to this day follows that commandment, even if they don’t follow any of the others. I’m sure there are similar passages in the texts of other religions who have a variation on the “I’m the only one” Godly decree. Ok, that’s fine, but that doesn’t mean you have to shut out, ignore, or dislike other religions.

Maybe that is the point of the exhibit at the British Museum. Besides the fascinating look into ancient Egyptian history, they are also saying that mixing of the religions and beliefs isn’t a terrible thing. Maybe, down the road, barring any apocalypse, that is where our religious path is taking us. Maybe, someday, there will be a point where people take bits and pieces of the religions they like. Or, even better, each religion will be like a different language, saying the same thing. So people will use different parts of each language to say what they feel and desire and pray for.

Personally, I’ve started to see different religions like this. Different ways of saying the same thing. When you break them down, and get past all the flowery stuff, there is a lot of good in religion. It can be helpful to many people. It can comfort them when they feel alone, lost, without direction, in need of guidance. as much as people may hate me saying it, science is sort of a religion too. No, not Scientology! Actual science. It is the religion of logic, and probably Atheists.

Sadly, until a day comes when people see religion as a language of belief, people will manipulate it to their own evil purposes. From Jihadists to those Westboro Baptists, there will be people with small minds manipulating something good into something bad, with many of us fearing them and clinging to what we know.

After reading that article, I’ll be wondering why we can’t be like those ancient Egyptians.

Chapter TK

Question Everything

AROUND and ABOUT

... I M O ...

Kate Heartfield

writer and editor

%d bloggers like this: