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Equal Love 2012

Equal Love – Let’s bring it to 2012!!

Love Makes A Family – The Reason Of The Season: Day 22

For me, the holiday season is a special time with my family. With the cold and the shorter days, the evenings which we spend watching movies, drinking hot cocoa, and laughing brings warmth and light to an otherwise depressing season.

My family isn’t “traditional”. I’m divorced. And my two kiddos have two different biological dads, neither of which is my current husband.

My son’s father passed away a few years ago. But we ensure Gavyn continues to build a close relationship with his bio dad’s family. My ex-husband, David, is the bio dad of my beautiful daughter and the dad that has raised my son since he was 2. My ex-husband and I have always maintained a working parental relationship. We have ALWAYS understood that they are more important than anything else and we have made it work in a remarkable fashion. My ex-husband and current husband get along very well. We are even over to my ex-husband’s parents house for all of the holidays. Every other Christmas, we switch which house we all stay for Christmas Eve/Morning. Yes… David will spend the night at my house and Brian and I at his… because we all want to be there for our annual Christmas traditions, to see the kids faces on Christmas morning… because each moment is so special and we all understand how important it is to be there for it all.

It may seem odd to some. But we don’t care. Showing our kids that we love them so much that we worked through everything personal to get to a level where we can appreciate the other for their parental abilities and acknowledge that, although we aren’t married, we are still a whole family, is better than most of the stories I hear about divorced couples.

Yet, in our way, we are a family. A whole family. Not a broken one. Our kids have 2 homes, yes. But with parents who communicate, laugh, work together, and get along, having two homes just means having more stuff 🙂

I wish everyone could have family and marriage equality. I’ve asked Santa and I hope he brings it this year. I could never fathom why a 2000 year old book had such grand authority on the concept of modern marriage or why “all loving” actually comes with a lot of “exceptions” attached. Lastly, I grew up in a “traditional family” and it was not what I would call particularly loving. Love has nothing to do with the bible, religion, or antiquated traditions.

Have a heart bigger than god and realize love comes in many forms – not just your brand.

Happy Holidays To Family Love!

***

The Reason Of The Season is a new series that will take place from December 1 – December 25. I, like many non-theists and non-Christians, love the holiday season. I love taking the this chilly time of year to remind the people I love how much I love and adore them, to help and give to those less fortunate, and feel the innocent hope of when I was a child. This series is an effort to educate many on tradition and history as well as an opportunity to share why I love this time of year and the traditions we use and have created in our family.

***

I Want To Marry Him Or Vote For Him… But Instead I Will Thank Him

This video has been making the rounds again on social media – with good reason. Zach Wahls, a 19 year old engineering student raised by a lesbian couple, gives a moving, inspired, and… let’s face it… kickass speech to oppose House Joint Resolution 6 which would end civil unions in Iowa. Although the speech and vote was early February of 2011 – the sentiment still needs to be heard – REALLY heard.

 

My favorite quote – at the end:

The sexual orientation of my parents has had zero effect on the content of my character.

Why we have to vote on basic human rights is beyond me to begin with. I guess equality has limits on the basics – like cable. And if I have to hear another person say, “But the Bible says…” I may actually slap someone. If you want to “throw” an antique book at this, I may have to bring out a few other choice antique atrocities, “Well, the Bible also says…” to include how to properly keep slaves and why women should be quiet.

Sometimes the book is literal (the “good” stuff) and the rest is being “taken out of context” (everything else).

I am proud to be of the same species as this guy… thank you, Zach Wahls, for being a good person of great character. And thanks to your parents who raised you and instilled character far greater than those who believe they have the monopoly on determining  other people’s basic human rights.

** The House voted 62-37 to pass House Joint Resolution 6, but the Senate WILL NOT vote on this issue this year because the Democrats still hold a slim majority in the Senate–1 seat. That means that Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal will not be holding a vote on this issue. Iowa Press has more details. **

 

Modern Bigotry in Action

On November 2, 2011, Senate Bill 0137 (2011, Michigan) was passed. It’s also called “Matt’s Safe School Law”

Please, hold your applause.

There is a part stating the legislation “does not prohibit First Amendment rights, and “does not prohibit a statement of a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction of a school employee, school volunteer, pupil, or a pupil’s parent or guardian.” 

*dumbfounded*

Wait…

What?

So… if they can prove they bully BECAUSE of moral or religious belief… it’s… okay?

This is 2011… right?

The Detroit News reports that Senate Dems tried to add language that would specifically prohibit bullying on the basis of race, gender, sexual preference, etc., but was not successful.

Also, a revision of the bill has also taken out “cyberbullying,” limiting the jurisdiction to school and telecomunications.

Many people are upset, including myself. The reason we pulled my son out of traditional school and began homeschooling was because of bullying. Why aren’t adults in charge taking this seriously? Why is religious belief STILL untouchable? How many more kids have to live in emotional and/or physical agony or even die because of this bullying behavior?

Why is religion getting a pass?

Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer (D) gave an emotional speech reprimanding the Republicans for “explicitly outlining how to get away with bullying”

 

“A blueprint for bullying.”

Matt’s father, Kevin Epling, posted on his Facebook after the state senate vote on Wednesday. “I am ashamed that this could be Michigan’s bill on anti-bullying,” wrote Epling. “For years the line [from Republicans] has been ‘no protected classes,’ and the first thing they throw in…was a very protected class, and limited them from repercussions of their own actions.”

I’m ashamed of Michigan.

I’m embarrassed.

I’m infuriated.

Freedom of Religion does not mean you can torture someone else and blame it on your religion.

Will the Muslim students who call Christian students infidels and torment them regularly be protected under this law?

Doubtful.

To give your opinion or show support, send emails to SenGWhitmer@senate.michigan.gov or letters to P.O. Box 30036 Lansing, Mich., 48909-7536.

Petition for The Pledge

Edit the Pledge of Allegiance to remove the phrase “Under God”.

The Pledge of Allegiance is said every day in schools across America. It is a government sanctioned speech, and should remain neutral in matters of religion. In its current state, it supports the existence of God, which goes against several religions, and supports others. This bias should not be supported by the country according to the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution

 

You can sign the petition here.

Debunk in the Trunk

Imagine life without stereotypes.

It’s pretty difficult when you actually think about it. Not just making it a pretty song and walk around with peace signs for hands, but critically thinking about what it would take–at this point in the world’s history–to be a human race of no stereotypes… and tolerance.

It’s kind of a ‘blow-your-effin-mind’ deal.

As another year draws to a close and I reflect on what I’ve learned this year, especially being open about my atheism and secular humanism on this blog, and it seems I’ve learned more about how hate invades life.*

Sad…but true.

And the “haters” can justify their hate in many ways…”I’m not a bigot because God says homosexuality is abominable,”  or, “We can believe different things… but I still love you and I’ll still try to convert you,” or, “I love Jesus and hope all atheists die.”

Dealing with people who base their unalterable and life-shaping opinions on an un-verifiable, contradictory, and widely unread antique document, or who cultivate hate under the guise of “tradition” is tiresome.

I roll my eyes back into my head so often when conversing with these types of people that I’m worried my eyes will get stuck up there.

There are plenty of non-religious people who never seek to offend or challenge or even change the way this hate is still permeating in our world. Why do I bother?

I bother to challenge and attempt to change the trend (never seeking to offend, but often succeeding) because I want better for my kids. And from where I’m standing, even other people’s kids are assholes. Scientifically speaking,** no one is born an ignorant, prejudiced, bigoted asshole. Those are learned behaviors. More often than not, these behaviors are learned from parents. And if not learned from parents, then from peers, and perhaps parents aren’t correcting the behavior.

I understand that every single person will never like every other person they come into contact with. I’m not high. This isn’t Canada.

What is perplexing is why, in the year 2011, we continue to allow hate and prejudice to shape our laws, prevent gender equality, or to make children feel as if suicide is the only way to get out.

In the words of Susan Powter… “STOP THE INSANITY!”

In a small attempt to help the world stop  being assholes for no rational or logical reason, I offer the following:

In my research, I ran across a great article by Amanda Marcot on AlterNet.org debunking myths about atheists. Education is key – that means meeting actual people and forming your own opinion instead of finding it in an antique book or looking for someone else’s interpretation of said antique book.

1) There are no atheists in foxholes.

Stop trying to use a time of pain, suffering or weakness to convert me. Sleazy marketing.

2) Atheists are just angry with God.

I can’t be angry at something that doesn’t exist. It’s like being angry at the genie that failed to pop out of my lamp and grant me wishes.

3) Atheists are aggressive and rude.

Last I checked, being honest about my atheism isn’t as rude as someone telling me I’m going to hell. For some reason, the fact that supernatural creatures don’t dictate my opinions and actions is offensive. I don’t walk around door to door proselytizing or commit others to eternal pain for not believing what I believe. People in general can be aggressive and rude. Critical thinking skills and grounding in reality does not an asshole make.

4) Atheism is a white dude thing.

According to my doctor, I am biologically female

Atheist blogger Jen McCreight grew so tired of this myth that she compiled an extensive list of prominent female atheists such as Susan Jacoby, Rebecca Watson and Lori Lipman Brown. Greta Christina followed up with a list of prominent atheists of color, such as Debbie Goddard, Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Hemant Mehta.

5) Atheism is just a faith like any other.

I always flinch in embarrassment for the believer who trots out, “Atheism is just another kind of faith,” because it’s a tacit admission that taking claims on faith is a silly thing to do. When you’ve succumbed to arguing that the opposition is just as misguided as you are, it’s time to take a step back and rethink your attitudes.

And, not to drag out this old chestnut, but Atheism is no more a faith than “not collecting stamps” is a hobby.

Faith in the untestable, improbable, and unprovable is quite a stretch from “faith” in facts, critical thought, and scientific methodology. Read a book.***

6) Atheists don’t have a moral code.

Believers, listen to me carefully when I say this: When you use this argument, you terrify atheists. What you are implying is that the only thing standing between you and, say, Ted Bundy, is a flimsy belief in a supernatural being made up by pre-literate people trying to figure out where the rain came from. This is not very reassuring in any scenario, but especially if you’re trying to argue from a position of moral superiority.

I’m moral because it’s the right thing to do. Not because of  “reward,” or because of a fear of some cosmic retribution.

7) Atheist lives are bleak and lack meaning.

In fact, I spend my days enjoying this life, the people I love, and raising my children to be good people. Is there something I’m missing?

8.) Atheists are hedonists who don’t understand the true meaning of love.

If I had to live by the true definition of  “God’s Love” I would let loved ones die even though they begged me not to. I would sacrifice my children’s lives for others (in situations that in no way warrant that behavior). I would kill those who did not follow my nonsensical and inexplicable rules. I would ask others to constantly prove their love by doing harmful things to others. I would collude with my enemies to make my loved ones’ lives miserable. In short, I’d be a jealous, petty, insecure tyrant with unchecked power and no obligation to my people.

I prefer the human definition of love. The one we hold everyone in the world to.

9) Atheists have no way to cope after losing loved ones without the belief in an afterlife.

Such arrogance. The religious don’t have a monopoly on humanity.  Grief Beyond Belief is a great group for those of us dealing with loss without the supernatural default sayings.

10) Atheists are out to destroy Christmas.

I find this funny since Christianity used the Pagan’s Saturnalia to convert people. Read up. I would prefer if you didn’t let your faith-based hate to infect my government, though.

* Clarification: Basing your opinion on an individual person’s actions or words is different than forming an opinion of an individual based on a stereotype due to color, race, religion, sexuality…etc etc. Disliking someone for who they are and disliking someone for what they represent are two different subjects. I’m speaking to the bigoted “hate them for what they represent” segment.
** I am not a scientist. My use of the term “Scientifically speaking” is an attempt at sarcasm. I mention this because the people to whom this is most pointedly referencing will not recognize the difference between actual science, fake science, folklore, or a joke.
***Really. Any book. Even the Bible. ESPECIALLY the Bible, the whole thing by yourself. I dare you.

Celebrate The Death of DADT

I am former military. This repeal is off-the-charts amazing!

I cannot believe it has taken this long for equality in our country.

I cannot believe that, as a 1st world nation, a supposed “superpower” among countries, that we have allowed such blatant ignorant bigotry for so long.

I cannot believe this great nation of people expected it’s own service members to fight for a country who wasn’t willing to fight for the equal rights of the people it was asking to die for it.

Thank Math that someone has finally come to their senses.

 

For over 236 years, the U.S. Army has been an extraordinary force for good in the world. Our Soldiers are the most agile, adaptable and capable warriors in history — and we are ready for this change…

Accordingly, we expect all personnel to follow our Values by implementing the repeal fully, fairly and in accordance with policy guidance. It is the duty of all personnel to treat each other with dignity and respect, while maintaining good order and discipline throughout our ranks. Doing so, will help the U.S. Army remain the Strength of the Nation.

 

One amazing story already: Navy Lt. Gary Ross, Partner Dan Swezy Wed As Military’s Gay Ban Formally Ends

 

Suck on that homophobes.

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