Tag Archives: god

Daniel Ashley Pierce: LGBT Homelessness and the Word of God

If you have seen the viral YouTube video of twenty-year-old Daniel Ashely Pierce coming out to his family, you will know just how incredibly disturbing and disgusting it is… A dark reminder that even in our world today, coming out can be one of the most awful things a young gay person experiences. I think we can all agree that our teenage years and early adulthood is a very tender time for everybody. Discovering who you are and uncovering certain truths about life and the world is incredibly sobering and often disconcerting. Bullying is a real thing – it is not simply a gas in the air, and that bullying doesn’t only happen on the schoolyard. It also happens in homes. It can come directly from the people who are supposed to be the most supportive and loving figures in your life. Yet, all it takes is this almighty “word of god” and suddenly certain people feel they can justify everything – including abusing and abandoning their own son.

Not only was young Daniel berated and shamed for being gay, he was also physically assaulted and forced to move from his parent’s home. Does this sound familiar? Unfortunately, it should. In 2012, research indicated that 40% of homeless youth served by agencies identify as LGBT. An astonishing 43% of drop-in shelter clients identify as LGBT. In addition, 86% of LGBT people report having been verbally harassed at school for their sexual orientation. So, along with the adversity these young people face for being gay, they also now face the social stigma of being homeless. It seems this “word of god” is really incredibly harmful.

It seems a common debate has risen surrounding whether or not homosexuality is a choice. I’ve blogged previously about where scientific research currently stands on this, but ultimately – I am not personally interested in justifying my homosexuality with “it wasn’t my choice.” It is unfortunate that people feel the need to step back from homosexuality instead of embracing it and being unapologetic. We can also make the strong case that identifying as Christian is a choice. Identifying as a homophobe is a choice. But it seems to me that we are completely missing the mark in this conversation. This family abused their son both physically and verbally, and we are still sitting here trying to debate whether or not homosexuality is a choice? It doesn’t matter. This family abused and abandoned their son. End of discussion.

It seems apparent to me in this situation, and in situations I’ve experienced personally, that these anti-LGBT family members actually feel as though they are doing the right thing. They feel they are “honoring the word of god,” and balking at any sense of reason in the process. I’ve heard people justify this hatred with quips like “He’s just trying to do the right thing.” Let me ask you… would we ever look at what Hitler did and think “He was just trying to do the right thing?” Would we allow for any kind of justification of this blatant anti-semitism which resulted in a genocide that killed six million Jewish people? It doesn’t matter how well-intentioned Hitler might have considered himself, what he was doing was terribly wrong. The parents depicted in this video showed blatant disregard for their son, attacking him and making him yet another young LGBT homeless person. There is no justification for this. Not even your precious bible.

After this video went viral, donations collected on the Internet to help young Daniel with living expenses amounted to over $50,000. While this is such a wonderful gesture, we have to understand that Daniel is not alone. In order for stories like Daniel’s to stop happening, many things need to change. I would encourage every gay person reading this to stop apologizing for themselves. I would like to commend Daniel for his bravery and tenacity against such horrible circumstances. And ultimately, I wish that the next time we want to dump an ice bucket on our heads, we could donate to a charity that supports homeless people, including LGBT homeless people.

To donate: http://nationalhomeless.org/issues/lgbt/

Also, you can watch the video below. It contains obscene language and violence.

Prayer may offer comfort, but it doesn’t save lives

As of writing this, there are at last count 27 dead in Newtown, CT. And 20 of them are children.

I can still remember sitting in class in high school on April 20, 1999 and hearing the awful news about the shootings at Columbine High School. It was a Tuesday, and the following evening at my church’s youth group we had prayer for the victims and the victim’s families. A few of the really Christian kids even prayed for the families of the shooters. We found comfort together in the belief that God somehow had a plan in allowing the tragedy to happen.

Since then I’ve lost track of how many school shootings there have been. Including the incident today, there have been four other incidents of school violence this year alone: February 27: Chardon, OH; August 27: Baltimore, MD; September 26: Stillwater, OK; November 30: Casper, WY. (The latter was a bizarre and lethal case involving a high-powered bow and arrow.)

One of the constants throughout all of these cases has been the turning to prayer in the aftermath to attempt to find meaning and comfort. A quick perusal of my Facebook news feed is a veritable grief fest. Most of the messages are asking how and why this could have happened, but many have religious undertones:

“My thoughts and prayers are with all the children, teachers, their families and loved ones on this tragic day,” wrote Senator (D-MN) Amy Klobuchar on her page.

Even international coffee chain Starbucks had condolences to offer: “Our hearts and prayers are with the community and the nation.”

Not all of the messages have been positive, though. Conservative radio host Bryan Fischer delivered a message on his show today, virtually blaming the victims by saying that “God is not going to go where he is not wanted.”

The unsaid common denominator in all of these messages is the implication that God allowed this tragedy to happen. It reminds me of the Biblical story of Elijah mocking the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18): “Cry aloud, for he is a god! Either he is musing, or he is relieving himself, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened.”

This is another aspect of the sadomasochism of religion. People often turn to prayer in times of tragedy for comfort or to make sense out of senselessness, but they are either unable or unwilling to see the cognitive dissonance implicit in this. The Greek philosopher Epicurus (341 BCE – 270 BCE) summed this up best in his famous paradox:

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?

There’s nothing wrong with seeking comfort or solace, but we do a serious disservice to the victims by offering empty platitudes. It holds people back from grieving and truly moving on by teaching them to believe that their loved ones aren’t really dead — that their spirits live on in a better place, and they’ll all be reunited someday in that Sweet By-and-By. While it’s nice to think that, it doesn’t make it true.

Sign of the Times: Democrats Remove God and Acknowledge Gay

In a signal that at least half the country is moving in the right direction, the official 2012 Democratic National Platform removed all references to God and added this section in support of gay marriage:

Freedom to Marry. We support the right of all families to have equal respect, responsibilities, and protections under the law. We support marriage equality and support the movement to secure equal treatment under law for same-sex couples. We also support the freedom of churches and religious entities to decide how to administer marriage as a religious sacrament without government interference.

We oppose discriminatory federal and state constitutional amendments and other attempts to deny equal protection of the laws to committed same-sex couples who seek the same respect and responsibilities as other married couples. We support the full repeal of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act and the passage of the Respect for Marriage Act.

The one reference to God was contained in a passage that was dealing with growing the middle class and making America fair, having really nothing at all to do with God:

We need a government that stands up for the hopes, values, and interests of working people, and gives everyone willing to work hard the chance to make the most of their God-given potential.

We are indeed moving in the right direction. For the first time in history, we have a major political party that recognizes the LGBT community and is welcoming to the godless.

EDIT: It was too good to be true: The Democratic Party has reinstated the reference to God demonstrating the severe religiosity of this country.


Gay without God | Challenging the Status Quo on Two Fronts

By GWOG | gaywithoutgod.com

A few of us are gay. Fewer still are atheists. And only a fraction of us are gay atheists. Those of us who are both gay and atheists have grown up against the grain of society, a society that is very much heterosexual and theistic. Only a segment of us were raised in families that had already challenged the status quo of sexuality and religiosity before we arrived. The rest of us had to figure it out on our own.

This, as it turns out, was a blessing in disguise. 

Through the process of having to twice challenge social norms as we came of age, our minds became primed for freethinking. We can consider it a gift of chance that through necessity we were pushed to question our realities (skepticism), pushed to analyze and test the evidence of what is real and what is not (scientific method), pushed to think logically in contemplating the norms of society (critical thinking). 

And through that process of questioning, we found that society was generally wrong. Homosexuality is not immoral, and God does not exist. We arrived at both these conclusions for the same reason: there is no evidence for the contrary. We were shocked to find that society had been ignorantly humming along before our arrival on baseless assumptions, acting on those assumptions, and damaging itself in the process. Until now, no one had made enough noise to challenge those assumptions. No one had formally placed the burden of proof on society in its theistic claims and moral subscriptions. 

Things are changing. We have arrived. We are Gay without God. We will be out and proud on both fronts in challenging the status quo. 

…And What if I’m Wrong?

Raising the question, “What if I’m wrong?,” can be an immediate stumbling block for a Christian in contemplating the very idea that there might not be a God. This short video by Scott Clifton takes a pass at easing those fears by suggesting a set of thought provoking scenarios that might play out upon meeting God if he actually were to exist.