The title of this blog post isn’t actually what my Facebook feed looks like exactly* but was posted by more than one person I know. I found it particularly hilarious being both Southern and gay. The past two weeks have proved to be quite divisive among people in my Facebook community. Social networking conjures up a lot of half thought out commentary on very complicated subjects. I would like to think my views are not best expressed in memes and 140 characters. Does everyone need my views on all the things? Probably not, but I think it is important to talk about all the things instead of making blanket proclamations across all the internet. I think that is why I blog because I do feel a need to get dialogue going even if only in my own head. My blog has become a bit more opinionated over the past year which I feel is partially because in the past couple of years I have taken ownership of who I am. I also used to fear social media a little more. Certain career paths dictate a need to be the Switzerland of social media which is great because it keeps me from going postal with all the words. People do get fired for their social networking missteps…it’s a real thing.
The Confederate Army Part
The evolution started with the shock and grief over what happened in Charleston. My friends in Charleston and across South Carolina posting heartfelt tributes for those who lost their lives at Mother Emanuel AME and for the City of Charleston. I have followed along as so many participated in vigils and showed support as best they could. The world agreed that what happened was beyond comprehension. The world still mourns those victims. Then I watched as my feed turned to the Confederate flag, sparking debate on history and heritage. Arguments about losing focus on the victims too soon. Words said with pleas, empathy, love, irritation, disgust and staunch belief. It is true there is a lot of history out there. History that can not be undone.
I almost owned a Confederate flag t-shirt when I was younger. It was the thing to do. Everyone had them. It was a fashion statement of sorts. Luckily, my parents knew better and said no. I wasn’t even that in to “Southern heritage” but people were donning their confederate shirts with cute lab puppies and ribbons in their hair. I just wanted what everyone else had. So yea I kind of get where some people especially people in my age box don’t see the problem. We were taught young that it was a symbol of something sacred not something negative. BUT…I was a kid. I am an adult now. I watch the news, I hear people speak around me with adult ears, and the blurred lines become clearer. Then just this morning I see an article about a rally planned by some faction of the Klan that will take place in Columbia in protest of the flag coming down. I read about the burning of
six seven churches in the Southeast (at least two in SC) in the past few weeks**. Along with news of an AME church burning in SC just last night, there was also news of threats received by several female pastors in Clarendon County, South Carolina.
So does the flag need to be removed from the statehouse grounds, I think so. I think it is time. It belongs in a museum to be studied and viewed by those who wish to do so. Should the symbol be banned, no. I think that would be a free speech violation. However, if Wal-Mart and other corporations decide not to carry or adorn their products with the flag, that is also their choice. I think if you support Hobby Lobby not offering contraceptives as part of their medical care, then you should definitely be on board with at company’s choice not to carry items with the Confederate flag. Those two things are definitely not on the same legal level in my eyes but I think it is a comparison you can understand. Taking down the flag will not solve the problems of hate and racism in the world just as watching Gone With the Wind will not cause someone to be racist.
South Carolinians loves their state flag. South Carolina is a state proud of its flags and symbols. That is even evident here in DC when I can not go a day without seeing a South Carolina state flag on a car or a palmetto tree sticker. We’re a proud people. SC state pride and Southern heritage doesn’t depend on that flag waving down at the statehouse. My wife’s accent is proof that you can take the girl out of the South but you can’t take the South out of the girl.
The Skittles Factory – Taste the Rainbow
I was fortunate enough not to lose many friends after coming out. It was the one thing I feared. It was not really the fear of no longer having that person in my life, it’s that initial sting of rejection and judgment. I have never met anyone who enjoys rejection and being judged though so you can probably relate. The only “friend” I lost after coming out that I know of was expected. We did not have a big blow out or even a pithy exchange. She just up an unfriended me on the Facebook one day. Some people with closely held religious or even moral beliefs have a hard time with people not agreeing with them and feel personally attacked. That is out of my control. Also, I decided that if you can not like the pictures of my super cute child because of your religious beliefs, you do not need to be in my life at all.
Because of my Facebook purge of ’13, there are very few people who blatantly say, “I do not believe in gay marriage.” I know there are some and I know who they are. Some of them are peaceable people who kind of live and let live. A few others have felt the need to identify themselves as loving Christians who do not agree with homosexuality but love everyone just the same. I find that proclamation to be amusing as well as unnecessary because I don’t think the intended audience is me. It’s so the wrong person doesn’t think you support the homosexual lifestyle. I think if you’re having to make that statement, you’re super unclear on the definition of love. I also find that some people don’t realize that religion, gender, sexuality, race and political affiliation are not all the same thing. Somewhere in this country there is a Trans Gay Buddhist Republican who is looking for a place in this world.
I was listening to Rosie O’Donnell (I’ll pause so some of you can roll your eyes) this morning on Straight Talk with Ross Matthews***. She was describing the moment she heard about the decision last week in the marriage case. It was the best description of what it felt like. It is hard to explain how it feels to realize how being deprived of a right/privilege has weighed on you. I’ve been legally married for two years. Living in states with marriage equality for a good portion of that time so I wasn’t living with the inability to get married nor having my marriage be invalid at home for any length of time. When that marriage opinion came out still I shook involuntarily, I began crying and really had trouble not falling completely apart. I cried on the Metro all the way to the Supreme Court. It is a big fucking deal for marriage to be legal.
If you’re worried about your religious freedom, here are my suggestions. If you belong to a church that doesn’t support gay marriage, don’t perform them. It’s that simple. Churches have been marrying and not marrying people for years. Also, don’t marry someone of the same-sex. That should be really easy unless you are gay. If you’re a baker, a photographer, etc., you can’t discriminate on race, religion, gender and I think we should add sexuality to that. I just don’t think denying homosexuals service in a place of business is a deeply held religious belief. The words of John 3:16 are part of a deeply held religious belief. How to get yourself to heaven is a deeply held religious belief and I’m pretty sure it’s mostly the only one that matters.
Any civil discussion this post prompts is welcome! Keep it respectful. I know I am throwing a lot of thoughts out there. Some of these topics are scholarly article worthy. These views are my own and not personally directed to any specific person. I would never want to intentionally alienate or be dismissive of anyone.
*I committed FB suicide back in 2013 so I don’t have quite the array of views any longer. I emerged with a new page and have only added back good friends and a few family members.
**It is unclear if arson was involved in some of the fires but isn’t it super crazy that so many churches have caught on fire.
***Rosie was randomly a guest on Straight Talk today and I realize the amount of gay Democrat cliche that your brain is chewing on.