Friday, November 18, 2011

A Little Righteous Indignation

It's been three months since my last post and what is it about? It's not full of hot women. No, no. I had to go a little serious and a little angry and a little hurt.

The BYU school newspaper, The Daily Universe, printed some pretty horrifying Letters to the Editor. They were also posted on their website. It’s funny how they ended up editing them for content on the website (and eventually removing one completely), but didn't have the foresight to see how offensive these words were when publishing the paper. It caused quite the outrage amongst some members of the BYU community because of how insensitive, ignorant, and sometimes outright hateful they were. Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge fan of free speech and free press. But a university school paper is definitely not the place for hate speech. Especially at BYU, a private university, where students are required to edit their speech, behavior, and even dress.

Okay, I don't read The Daily Universe so I didn't read the opinion that these letters were responding to... But it can be gleaned from the letters that the opinion was about how gay couples would make perfectly adequate, if not good, parents. So, that is a small victory for BYU!

Three letters were printed in response. All varying in levels of homophobia.

One letter included these gems:

"You said: ‘We believe in Christ, but does that mean Buddhist parents are less capable of providing a suitable home?’
My response: Yes. If children were just as well off in a Buddhist home as an LDS home, why bother being LDS? I believe in the doctrines of the Church, and children are better off being raised in a righteous LDS home than any other environment. Without this view, why perform missionary work?"

I find this utterly appalling. What a culturally/religiously elitist snob!

You said: ‘The Family: A Proclamation to the World also states parents should rear their children in love and righteousness, provide for their physical and spiritual needs… to think only heterosexual couples are capable of doing this is crazy talk.’
My response: How can a heterosexual couple raise a child ‘in righteousness,’ providing for ‘spiritual needs,’ when their living arrangement is fundamentally contrary to the commandments of God and prohibits them from having the Spirit in their home? Now, I do not believe homosexual people cannot have the Spirit, but choosing to live together violates the law of chastity in a most severe way and the Spirit cannot dwell in a home where chastity is disregarded.”

Ah, yes.  This was my favorite thing that my bishop told me this summer…  Apparently I am going to stop reading my scriptures and praying because I’ll stop having the desire if I’m “living in sin.”  You know, “just like a murderer” would.  First, comparing “living the gay lifestyle” to being a murderer? People really need to stop doing that.  Second, nothing infuriates me more than the message that gay people can’t be religious, spiritual, etc.  Why do you think there are “godless homosexuals”?  Because they’ve been told things like “God hates fags” and “You can’t have the Spirit if you’re living in sin.” 
In response to my bishop, I did metaphorically whip out my Bible and talk about how even though King David was told that he lost out on exaltation for having Uriah killed, not even he completely lost the Spirit.  And murder is worse than sexual sin.  Yet King David is regarded more highly than any homosexual probably ever will be in the LDS Church... To which my bishop said, “Well…”
Really, to say that the Spirit of God could not dwell in the home of a homosexual couple--a homosexual couple who are faithful to each other, loving, humble, and-despite the fact that they are homosexuals-are trying to become more like Christ--is ridiculous to me.

The second letter was no better.

As prophets have said for thousands of years, sodomy is a disgusting sin we can't accept.
Yeah... I remember those scriptures so clearly... “Sodomy is a disgusting sin.” ‘Disgusting’ is the most commonly used adjective in the King James Version of The Bible…. So, Leviticus says: "Thous shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination" (18:22). Biblical literalists will say that clearly shows that homosexuality is a sin. And we all know that everything in the Bible should be taken literally... Bible scholars will tell you that "abomination" meant that it was simply against tradition, or a social taboo. Like how Leviticus also says, "These shall ye eat of all that are in the waters: whatsoever hath fins and scales in the waters, in the seas, and in the rivers, them shall ye eat. And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you" (11:9-10). I know a lot of very religious people who love the shellfish. Abomination! (For more on this, watch the film For the Bible Tells Me So. It's a really good watch about how the Religious Right demonizes the gay community and how that has terrible consequences. And it makes me cry.) 
On another note, I know some gay men and many lesbians who do not have anal sex... 

Apostles have said we must love the sinner and hate the sin.
With tolerance and love, we hope people with homosexual challenges will accept the Atonement of Christ and change for the better.

Actually, the LDS Church doesn't support reparative therapies so I don't know what this "change" is about. And "for the better"? Disagree. Becoming a sad, lifeless husk of a human that the "cool little Mormon trick" when you "turn it off like a light switch. Just go click!" produces is not okay!
But I will say, that I, as a person “with homosexual challenges” have “accept[ed] the Atonement of Christ” and I really have “change[d] for the better.” Because of the Atonement, Christ has surely “borne [my] griefs, and carried [my] sorrows” (Isaiah 53:4). Did I not mention that my “homosexual challenges” have come from society, Mormon culture, and ignorant people like the writers of this letter...

However, studies show living without either a mother or a father is detrimental to the probability of successful children later in life.
Some are successful anyway, but most aren’t.

All of the studies I’ve found have said that gay male/lesbian couples are either comparable to their heterosexual counterparts or better as parents… But I just read those in my Psych textbooks, the Journal of Marriage and Family, the Children and Youth Services Review, and Adoption Quarterly—among others. And we know that peer-reviewed journal articles are complete shenanigans!
Unless these studies are talking about single parent vs. two parent homes... Then that's a whole 'nother discussion. 

Just because it’s tremendously politically incorrect to state the truth doesn’t mean we don’t state it anyway: sexual sins, of which homosexuality is one, are not OK.
We must avoid, at all costs, letting children grow up in a home where horrible sins are modeled as acceptable.

“We must avoid, at all costs…” Extermination of order of the gays? Nah, too extreme. Let’s just continue our bullying of homosexuals until they resort to suicide. Society and religious zealots have been doing a great job of that for awhile... 

Just as if we wouldn’t want a child to grow up with a prostitute for a mother or a serial killer for a father, we shouldn’t accept a lesbian, gay or transgender parental model for young people.
Just like prostitutes and serial killers made choices to become prostitutes and serial killers, I actively made the choice to be gay. Prostitutes and SERIAL KILLERS are clearly on the same level as gay people... (I'm actually offended for prostitutes being grouped with serial killers...) But he’s right, LGBT parents, since they are the role models for their children, are statistically more likely than heterosexual parents to have/raise LGBT children. Oh, wait… Studies show that's false? Well, damn. 

Kids and teenagers have enough trouble with standards and morality when they have good parents. Take a stand and say no to homosexuality, a sin against nature and a sin against God.
“When they have good parents.” … Because homosexuals are inherently bad parents?
“A sin against nature.”
“A sin against God.” 

So, the reason for outrage is clear. a. Ignorance being propagated is not good. b. There could be some young BYU student reading that, who is struggling with the fact that he or she is gay, and just see, “A sin against nature and a sin against God” and turn to some horrible and drastic conclusions.

In response, this was drafted (by some awesome people) and posted on the Facebook group, ShameOnYouDU:

The Other Great Commandment:
Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself

We of the BYU community who are sympathetic to our homosexual brothers and sisters were extremely hurt by the insensitive articles in the Daily Universe comparing homosexuals to prostitutes and serial killers. Gay students are in every classroom, every war, and every apartment complex at BYU, and we want to reach out in love to help you better understand
-Utah leads the nation in youth suicides and teen homelessness, a large number which are gay youth (Utah Suicide Stats Alarming, Salt Lake Tribune, 2007).
-Gay youth who are rejected by family or peers are 8 times more likely to commit suicide and 6 times as likely to be depressed (Ryan, Huebner, Diaz, & Sanchez. 2009. Pediatrics).
Attempts to “love the sinner and hate the sin” more often than not come across as rejection, hate, and hostility. The hostility directed towards anonymous populations instead spiritually wounds your brothers and sisters all around you. If you don’t think you know a gay person, you’re wrong. They just don’t trust you enough to tell you.
The attitude represented by these articles creates and reopens wounds that the Son of God Himself died to heal. Gay members of the Church struggle under the burden of self-loathing, believing they are not worthy of God’s love. Those wounds are healed through the mercy of Jesus Christ and it is not our place undo what He has done.
Some people believe that homosexuality is a sin, but what does that have to do with love? The task of religion is not to teach us whom we’re entitled to hate, but whom we’re required to love.
To our gay brothers and sisters at BYU, you are not alone. We love you. There is a place for you with us and with God.
For more information, see the Facebook group: ShameOnYouDU

I also hear a flier with a shortened version of this was distributed about campus, posted on lampposts, and put on windshields of cars...

On a lighter note, this is my new obsession:
I ship it.
Well... really, THIS is my new obsession: