Category Archives: GWOG | Religion

Theists do not have a rational argument for the existence of their god, let alone the condemnation of the LGBT community as justified through their god or their manmade doctrine. This topic highlights the ongoing irrationality and destructive worldview of theists and the ways in which religious leaders and followers are unhelpful when it comes to enhancing our resolution of reality and are roadblocks in the progression of our personal freedoms. Here you will also find posts that showcase the ideas of current thought leaders in their pursuit to fight back against unfounded beliefs and illogical ways of thinking.

Bruce Springsteen is Not a “bully.” In fact, he is a hero

bruce1

It has been well reported that singer/songwriter Bruce Springsteen cancelled his Greensboro, NC show, scheduled Sunday, April 10th, due to the transphobic legislation recently signed into law by Gov. Pat McCrory. Known as the “bathroom bill,” the measure blocks any further protections based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Supporters have argued that this will improve the “safety” of women and children in public bathrooms and showers, despite this not being an issue in the 18 states and over 100 cities where LGBT protections do exist.

Since his cancellation, republican congressman Mark Walker has called Springsteen a “bully” and has vocalized support for other acts soon to come to the area, including Def Leppard and Justin Bieber. “I’ve never been a Bieber fan, but I might have to go,” he stated. “Maybe artists who weren’t ‘born to run’ deserve a little bit more support.”

Walker went on to state that Springsteen is “known to be radical left” and called the cancellation a “bully tactic.”

This is where I believe Walker has gone too far. We continue to see examples of conservative politics bullying and marginalizing the LGBT community, only to then turn it around and claim that those of us who support equality are “discriminating” against their religious freedom. It is a claim that is fundamentally false, and it has become so blatantly obvious that it is almost appalling that people actually believe this.

This measure is a sordid, calculated move (by state legislators comprised of 103 republicans and 11 democrats) to deny rights to LGBT citizens. It is absurd to label Springsteen a “bully,” when he is simply using his celebrity to lend support to the very people you continue to bully.

Springsteen isn’t alone in his “bully tactic.” Governor Nathan Deal of Georgia recently struck down a religious freedom law under increasing pressure from the business community who threatened to pull jobs from Georgia. “I do not think we have to discriminate against anyone to protect the faith-based community in Georgia,” he stated. He went on to state that he was not responding to the amounting pressure from businesses, but instead stating his decision was “about the character of our state and the character of our people. Georgia is a welcoming state. It is full of loving, kind, and generous people.”

It is a sad reality that certain elected officials are so hellbent on denying liberties to the LGBT community that it comes to this. That celebrities have to cancel shows in protest, and businesses have to threaten to relocate jobs, in order to end this type of discrimination.

We are tired of the absurd claim that your religious freedom is under persecution. It would almost be more respectable to just state “we hate queers” instead of playing the victim card. There is no threat to your religious liberty – you simply have a responsibility to serve the people in your community, including the LGBT members you so love to marginalize.

o-BRUCE-SPRINGSTEEN-GAY-MARRIAGE-AD-570

I, on behalf of GWOG, would like to declare today, Sunday, April 10th, as Bruce Springsteen day. We have the utmost respect for any celebrity who would lend their influence to such a worthy cause. Bruce has been a vocal supporter of gay rights since the mid-90’s, and even featured a man struggling with AIDS in his video for the song “Streets of Philadelphia.”

Subsidizing discrimination: Christian schools and their tax-exempt status

Courtesy Shutterstock

This week 17 year old Austin Wallis was forced to either deny he’s gay or find a new high school. In his viral YouTube video, Wallis explains that his Lutheran high school forced him to leave because he was gay. They gave the popular YouTube blogger a choice: he could either go back into the closet by removing all evidence he’s gay from social media or he would be expelled. So he left.

This story, as tragic as it is, raises the question: why are we giving tax breaks to discriminatory Christian schools?

Lutheran High North (LHN) is run by Lutheran Education Association of Houston (LEAH) which is filed as a 501(c)(3). That means the school is able to function as a non-profit with all the tax shelters that come with it while discriminating against its students in whatever way it sees fit on religious grounds.

In the U.S. it’s the status quo for Christian schools to be tax-exempt. They either fall under the umbrella of a host church which is tax-exempt under federal law, or they apply for their own tax exempt status as an independent religious entity.

It seems absurd that a tax-exempt school would able to enforce moral clauses that, in the case of LHN, declare that the school “reserves the right, within its sole discretion, to refuse admission of an applicant and/or to discontinue enrollment of a current student participating in, promoting, supporting or condoning: pornography, sexual immorality, homosexual activity or bisexual activity; or displaying an inability or resistance to support the qualities and characteristics required of a Biblically based and Christ-like lifestyle.”

And it seems illegal. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, and national origin. By requiring its students to identify with a particular brand of Christianity (see the moral clause above) or to otherwise face expulsion, the school would appear to be breaking the “religion” clause of the federal anti-discrimination laws.

There are similarities here to the Ken Ham Ark Encounter story. In case you haven’t been following, Ken Ham from Answers in Genesis is trying to build a Noah’s Ark theme park in Kentucky. Originally, the for-profit venture was depending on $18,000,000 of Kentucky tax payer money as part of that State’s tourism tax incentives. Then it was discovered that the Ark Encounter was taking part in discriminatory hiring practices in that they refused to hire applicants who are gay or non-Christian. As a result they lost their anticipated tourism tax incentives and all was right in the world.

Similar to the Ark Encounter scenario, if a Christian school is to require a student to adhere to a particular brand of Christianity, the school should be stripped of its tax-exempt status. Their thoughts on morality are their business, but when they receive tax breaks while forcing those religious views on others, it becomes our business. It should be obvious that no tax paying citizen should be made to subsidize discrimination and homophobia by bearing the burden of tax-exemptions awarded to these religious, anti-LGBT institutions.

Moving on: When your crush has a crush on Jesus

Jesus crush

We’ve all been there, that awkward moment when in trying to get to know someone you find out they have a crush on Jesus. They love him with all their heart, they say. They think about him constantly. They idolize his very being. They get down on their knees just to chat him up. They talk about him incessantly. They sing to him on Sunday, etc.

As difficult as it might be, if you find out your crush has a crush on Jesus you need to move on. It’s highly  likely — in fact it’s a sure thing — that your crush believes some pretty ridiculous things. You’re setting yourself up for failure in finding a mate if you’re willing to sacrifice sanity for some of the other qualities you might find in this person. You can do better.

To help you get over your crush, we’ve compiled a brief list of some of the absurd things they must believe in order to have a crush on Jesus. Hopefully, with this list close at hand, you’ll be able to take off the crush-goggles and see your crush for what they really are — a crazy person. Take a look:

When your crush has a crush on Jesus…

  • They’re crushing on a dead man who lived 2000 years ago (if he even lived at all) and who purportedly was born of a (married) virgin, walked on water, magically made water into wine, and came back from the dead three days after being executed, among other things.
  • Your crush believes that their crush was required by his father to die (temporarily) in order to forgive us for a sin committed by a woman 6000 years ago (the first woman, no less — sorry Darwin). What was this great sin, you might ask? She broke a nonsensical rule and ate a forbidden fruit because a talking snake sent by your crush’s father (specifically for the purpose of tempting her) persuaded her to do it.
  • Your crush believes that because this woman couldn’t resist the temptation of the talking snake, we’re all born of sin (because her two sons went on to propagate the rest of our species, hence genetically transferring the sin?) which is punishable by death. But hey, your sins can be forgiven if you too would only have a crush on Jesus. If not, sorry, you’ll be tortured for all of eternity in a lake of fire, regardless of what a good, moral person you are.
  • Your crush believes that a book written thousands of years ago by bronze-age men has every sort of moral relevance today, despite the fact that, for example, it condones slavery, its commandments don’t mention rape, and was clearly written by bronze-age men. They believe their Jesus crush made a few corrections and additions, but that they’re still free to evoke the old otherwise obsolete rules whenever they feel it would be to their benefit (so much for an unshakable moral code).
  • Your crush believes the father of their crush (who apparently created everything, has a grand plan, and is all-loving) to be a very angry man indeed. For example, your crush believes that several thousands of years ago this sky daddy was so angry towards his creation that he flooded the earth in a mass genocide, surely banishing everyone to hell, but saved one family of humans and every species of animal by shoving a pair of each of them onto a makeshift wooden boat. (They believe this despite the overwhelming and overlapping evidence we find in the fossil and geological records to the contrary.)
  • Your crush is still a child. They haven’t gotten over the “make-believe” stage of their lives, holding on to their childhood fantasies. While the rest of us were doing away with Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy, your crush missed one.
  • To top it all off, your crush has probably eaten crackers and drank wine in church on Sunday to symbolize the consumption of their crush’s flesh and blood. (The rest of us call that cannibalism.)

So there you have it, just some of the reasons to get over your crush if you find out they have a crush on Jesus; just the tip of the iceberg, really.

In all fairness, if we’re to be completely honest with ourselves, there may be one benefit to your crush having a crush on Jesus as is summed up nicely by this meme:

jesus threesome 2

But otherwise, you’re swooning after a crazy person. Move on, and do so quickly. Godspeed!

10 signs you might be a moderate Christian and what you can do about it

Progressive-Christian

You’re a smart person, you stand up for secular values, you contribute to society in meaningful ways, you like gay people, you believe in climate change, etc. And you’re a Christian. But in your unique stance — balancing somewhere between faith and reason — are you being true to yourself and is your way of seeing the world helping to reduce the suffering of others? Maybe not…here are ten signs you might be a moderate Christian, the problems that come along with being moderately religious, and what you can do about it.

  1. You “believe in” evolution, but feel like God must have played in role in it.

    The problem: If you really understood evolution, you’d be unable to honestly hold this belief. Science and religion don’t mix. Evolution contradicts the Biblical account of creation. If you believe in evolution, then you are saying that you don’t believe the Bible’s account of creation. If the Bible was wrong about this, how do you know that it wasn’t wrong about everything, including the existence of God?

  2. You refuse to criticize Christian fundamentalists.

    The problem: In effect you’re supporting the fundamentalists, giving cover to them by validating the idea that one should believe something without a good reason. You don’t speak up when fundamentalists go too far, masking your silence under the guise of tolerance.

  3. You believe fundamentalists are a minority and that they hold no real power.

    The problem: By now we all know this isn’t true: http://www.thedailydolt.com/2012/10/05/tea-party-rep-paul-broun-evolution-and-big-bang-are-lies-straight-from-the-pit-of-hell-why-yes-he-serves-on-the-house-science-committee-with-todd-akin/

  4. You believe churches and other religious organizations that give back to society shouldn’t be taxed.

    The problem: When those institutions want to use their influence over their members to affect how those people vote, they are no longer simply religious institutions, they are political ones, and therefore should be subject to the same rules as any other political organization. If they do in fact give back to society, they should apply for tax-exempt status like every other tax-exempt organization.

  5. You believe faith is a virtue.

    The problem: Faith-based thinking closes the door to more sophisticated approaches to spirituality, ethics, and the building of strong communities.

  6. You do not want anyone to kill anyone in the name of God, but you want us to keep using the word “God” as though we knew what we were talking about.

    The problem: People who think they know what they’re talking about kill people in the name of God.

  7. in-gods-name1

  8. You prefer to relax your standards of adherence to ancient superstitions and taboos while otherwise maintaining a belief system that was passed down from generation upon generation.

    The problem: Your belief system was passed down by men and women whose lives were simply ravaged by their basic ignorance about the world.

  9. You don’t think homosexuality is wrong and evil like your church says it is.

    The problem: The Bible doesn’t like gay people, and is crystal clear about it (you can Google it, or, just read the Bible). Making up your own version of the Bible makes you actually less rational than the fundamentalists who live by it word-for-word. Your beliefs, in contrast, are based on nothing in particular—not scriptural knowledge nor empirical evidence. By failing to live by the letter of the texts—while tolerating the irrationality of those who do—you are betraying faith and reason equally.

  10. You live your life with an emphasis on feeling good rather than thinking critically.

    The problem: This is the same type of thinking we see in climate change denialists. Thinking critically is a long term investment in feeling good.

  11. You accept secular values.

    The problem: You attribute your morality to the Christian God of Abraham without even the most basic understanding of the scriptures that describe such a God. You’re deeply confused about the history of your own faith and the science regarding the natural emergence of morality.

So what can you do about it? The first step is to really study the Bible and understand the scope and context of what you’re reading and supposedly basing your life on. Then, admit to yourself that you need to take a hard look at your beliefs and either come to terms with the fact they’re not compatible with Christianity or join the fundamentalist Christians and stand up for everything the Bible represents. But choose quickly! You can’t have it both ways and be taken seriously for much longer. The rest of us are on to you.

“Religious moderation is the product of secular knowledge and religious ignorance.” – Sam Harris

North Carolina magistrate resigns over gay marriage. Here’s why…

In the News

A rising number of homeless gay teens are being cast out by religious parents

In the News

5 reasons young people are indifferent or outright antagonistic to religion

In the News