Why I’m No Longer A Conservative

Back in the day I was pretty much as conserative as they come. When I went off the college I was a member of The Young Conservatives of Texas, I was in the leadership of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, I sang in a church choir, and argued with people about things like evolution. But all that’s changed. In ways it happened quickly, in other ways it’s been a very long process.

It all started when my roommate for the summer, Nial Gaffney, an astrony major, said to me that when he looked into the stars he saw the handiwork of a god that was bigger than the god of the bible. It took me a little while to digest that, but I knew it was true. The bible puts god in a box and makes god in the image of man. The truth of the matter is that our creator is so far above us that it’s impossible to understand him/her/it. We are no more significant to our creator than grains of sand are to us.

That lead me to being a Deist. There’s actually a great deal of Deist history in the US – many of our founding fathers were Deists – Thomas Jefferson being the most notable. But that was just an accident of history since our country was founded at a time that was Deism’s zenith and that was simply because society was moving from a culture where non-believers were killed to one where they were tolerated and Deism was simply the step before atheism. When our country was founded you could be respectable and be a Deist, but you could lose everything (including your life) if you were an Atheist, so the Atheists of their day called themselves Deists.

Other changes in my belief system happened pretty quickly. If the bible wasn’t absolute truth then everything was up for reconsideration. At my heart I knew I was gay and so a year after rejecting Christiantity, I accepted myself and came out.

The process had actually started earlier – when I was in high school. The school I went to in Baltimore (Arlington Baptist School) had whole chapel services about the evils of rock music – including listening to it backwards and hearing things that praised Satan (lol). When I was in Lynchburg (at Jerry Falwell’s high school, Lynchburg Christian Academy) I had to drive with these guys from school to get to driver’s ed. They used to play Chaka Khan on the way almost every day. I got to love “I’m Every Woman” and it struck me – how could something so happy and joyous be evil? Listen to it and you’ll see what I mean…

Like almost no other song that one just puts a huge smile on your face and makes you feel like you’re having a great day. And that was supposed to be evil… Right… At that point I decided to make up my own mind as to what was good and bad, and Chaka Khan was not bad – not in the least.

So deciding that god was bigger than the god of the bible wasn’t really that hard. Deciding that my being gay wasn’t evil wasn’t all that hard either.

The question became what do I do with the conservative elements in my family? For years after I came out to my parents I hoped they’d accept me. But that never happened. When my lover died of AIDS in January of ’95 Mom made a comment about how her mother had been there for her when her first husband died in World War II and I thought she got it, but that was quickly dispelled in our next conversation.

The bottom line was that it was bad for me to weigh myself down with my parents. It’s not good to be around people that tell you there’s something wrong with you – especially when they’re your parents (who are supposed to love you unconditionally) and they can’t just ignore the issue and interact with you without it getting brought up. Their lives revolved around Jerry Falwell’s church and that meant that their lives revolved around fighting liberalism including gay rights. I was the enemy and there was no way for me to be comfortable in their world.

At a point I just had to tell myself that they died and I needed to move on, which is what I did. There’s a song/video out lately, “Fuck You Very Much”…

In a way it resounds with my decision to separate from my parents, but it also trivializes the decision. It’s easy to say “fuck you very much, we hate what you stand for, please don’t stay in touch” to a stranger. It’s a more complicated process when it’s your parents.

When I was growing up our parents were sort of the glue that held our family together. I remember big phone bills calling all my sisters every week. That doesn’t happen any more. I didn’t really get those phone calls even before I had issues with them – not sure why. And now that I’m not really wanting to have much to do with them it’s a bit of a wedge in an already weak relationship with some of my sisters. It’s unfortunate really, but it is what it is…

Of course lately the issue is marriage. Let me put this bluntly – separate but equal is always separate, but never equal. Civil unions will not work – nothing but marriage will work, because only marriage has the full rights. Only with marriage can I finally give Dan citizenship…

But of course the fundamentalists, like my parents, want to tell gay folk like me what marriage means. Somehow they’ve forgotten that there’s a marriage contract involved that requires going down to your local government office. They equate marriage with the wedding ceremony – forgetting that Atheists get married all the time without any religious ceremony. So since I’m on a YouTube kick, let’s remind ourselves what “traditional, biblical marriage” really means…

Yes, biblical marriage really is that messy, and the fact that Christians think it’s some solid, honorable standard is laughable. For a moment let’s consider what it would be like if “traditional marriage” were actually enforced…

That’s right – no divorce, no blacks marrying whites, no women who weren’t virgins on their wedding night… Funny how Christians forget all those bits about “traditional marriage”…

The bottom line is Chaka Khan isn’t evil and neither are gay men and lesbians. Take a deep breath, sit down, and just accept it…

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