On Tragedy.

I was 12 when the Twin Towers went down, and while I didn’t know anyone in New York, and while no one I knew died in the Pentagon/Towers attacks, I was still affected. I watched my dad pack a bag and, well, go to war.

I don’t know many in France, anyone in Beirut, anyone on the south side of Chicago, or in many other parts of the world where tragedy and fear is the undercurrent of daily life. But I know that in each of these places there is a 12 year old girl who is confused and afraid, wondering if her loved ones will make it home alive the next time they leave, and that is something I can relate to.

So as I reflect on the goings-on of the world, it is her I am thinking about. The girl huddled in the corner of her room, writing poetry or an angry journal entry, perhaps feeling there is no one around her who can answer her questions or understand her fears. I am thinking of her, realizing for the first time what the world is really made of, and being forced to recognize that people are not in fact inherently good.

It would be nice if we could all keep our innocence a little longer, but that is not the case. So, while we cannot protect each other from the dangers of the world, let’s all try to go out of our way to be a littler nicer. Help where it is needed. Leave your fear based biases behind and get to know your neighbors.

And, most importantly, listen to The Beatles. They solve everything.

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All There Is. (and some pros and cons)

So the church has defined apostates as those who participate in same sex relationships, while also adding that children born or adopted into same sex families are not eligible for membership in the church until they are 18, have disavowed their family’s lifestyle, and are no longer living at home.

I have long been an advocate for children, and it’s no secret that I get heated fast when they get thrown under the bus or used as pawns to meet who knows what end.

So here’s what I’ll say: I not only “tolerate” those who are different me, I welcome all into my home and laugh with them and appreciate them and truly care about them – not just tolerate them -, whatever religious or political affiliation, sexual orientation they may have, or whatever financial position they may be in. You can be tatted to the eyebrows, look like a 50s housewife, be a muslim, a christian, a mormon, a jew, a black panther, an ACORN rep, a meat eater, an excon, and even have bought a dog instead of adopting one 😉 and I will not only “tolerate” you, I will treat you with respect and kindness. You can totally sit at my table.

But that does not always mean I will agree with all of your beliefs. And how can I, or you? It’s impossible. So when I say I hate this new religious policy, it is not the same as saying I hate you or your religious freedom. I don’t.

It is saying that from where I’m standing, I see startling inconsistencies and laser focused discrimination happening, and I will always call that out, especially when the welfare of children is involved.

So while I could rant about what I hear others saying and how I feel about it, I feel like I’ve done that already, so I’m just going to make a pros and cons list to this policy, and say that while I will “tolerate,” love, accept and enjoy the company of all my LDS friends and family, I just cannot tolerate this policy (amongst others). I will not change my mind, just like you will not change yours. I will never support this, and I will not pretend to do so to spare your feelings, nor would you mine.

Pros to not allowing kids of same sex parents to participate in church rites of passage:

  • They are not required to make up their mind at age 8, when they are very much still in a state of wanting to please others by taking the necessary steps, like baptism. At 18, it’s much easier to evaluate if you’d really like to join a church or not. Much less pressure, and less problems later when it turns out it’s not actually for you.

Cons:

  • The church contradicts itself (all families are sacred, all people are welcome, 2nd article of faith, so on and so forth) which confuses its members and makes it look bad. [Some would put this on the ‘pros’ list]
  • Any child of same sex parents who is actively involved in the church is now penalized by not being able to participate in certain activities that other children look forward to being able to do. They are left out, and when they do not meet these milestones, they will have to explain why which will only create more of a divide. (How many of you weren’t allowed to have non-member friends growing up?)
  • LGBT children must denounce their parents’ lifestyle to join the church, and cannot live with them if they want to be members, which does not show that all families are important and valuable. Offspring of polygamists and Muslims can still live with their families at the time of conversion.
  • Certain children are targeted and stripped of the access that other children have because of the “sins of their father” when they have absolutely no say in the matter.
  • This policy promotes discrimination against LGBT families and children and just straight up ignores Christ’s teachings and examples (of love, acceptance, let he who is without sin cast the first stone…)

I understand that everyone has to make their own way in this world, and that the battle to grow into a functional and kind human being is hard – without people throwing obstacles in your face that you never asked for. I’m not going to say it doesn’t bug me that so many of you support this decision. It does. But your relationship with God (or lack thereof) is entirely yours. If this policy doesn’t shake you in some capacity, that’s personal.

But I’m not going to pretend I think it’s okay. I don’t. I don’t think it’s ever okay to make children a target for discrimination (and then claim it is to protect them). I don’t think it’s ever okay to say one family is more valid than another, because it’s not true. You are not better than others because you are LDS, nor am I better than others because I not.

And that is all there is.
Please, choose acceptance and kindness over discrimination.
Please, choose love over policy.
Please, choose support over rejection.