#LoveWins

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

I started this post as a mild “in your face you ratchet closed minded religious conservatives” type rant. I was so completely and utterly caught up in the moment in other words I was in my usual wickedly horrible unpredictable “think before I do or say” mode. I fiercely typed out my rant as I sat waiting for my oil to be changed at the Jiffy Lube. I let word after word flow from my pseudo political activist brain through my long piano fingers to my WordPress app on my iPhone 5s.

I didn’t care about the possibility of the person sitting so close to my right being able to read every word I typed in my post. I didn’t care whether or not he was a supporter of the LGBTiQ community. I caught the writing bug and I needed to release everything before I lost it. Unfortunately, I didn’t finish the said previous rant like version of this post; which perhaps might have been a good thing.

To be completely honest, even as I am now starting to write the thirteenth version of this post, I still cannot find the words to say about the U.S. Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage. I can say that I’m overjoyed that high court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage not because I’m a huge fan of marriage but because I feel like everyone should be able to choose for themselves whether or not to live in matrimony and misery. It made me happy to know that once and for all the great country I’m proud to be a citizen of would finally progress into the 21st Century. That all persons born in or become naturalized citizens of this country would indeed be granted all basic freedoms equally and protected under the law regardless of who or what a person claims to be.

Boy was I delusional and jumping the gun.

I forgot where I live. I forgot what type of family I came from. I didn’t think about any of those aspects until I saw my sister’s Instagram post Saturday afternoon. I didn’t think about her still being as close minded as the religious conservatives who run the State of Texas. I thought we were past the bigotry. I thought she had evolved and opened her mind.

I thought wrong!

Picture it. It’s a sunny Saturday afternoon. I’m not really doing much. Just lying around as I normally do. I logged into my Instagram for the umpteenth time that day and I see this:

 

I honestly wasn’t surprised by this post because deep down, I already knew she felt this way. I already knew that the battle I had with her way back when would somehow revive Itself I just didn’t know when or how.

I’m not going to bash my sister for her beliefs as she is very much entitled to her opinions and is free to express them however and whenever she pleases. She’s grown and fully capable of making up her own mind. Who am I to stifle her beliefs and thought processes? Who am I to reject her for who and what she is even though she rejects who and what I am?

You guys weren’t expecting that were you? Read between the lines and move on.

——

I’ve never been the type of person to flaunt who or what I am flamboyantly. I’m very much an advocate for being and staying incognegro at all times. I speak when I have something to say or when I’m around people who make me feel safe and at peace. I’m just a girl who wants more than anything in this world to be accepted for who she is as a person. I do not wish to be chastised for being different or for not fitting into a stereotypical mold someone who knows nada about me places me in. I do not wish to surround myself with folks who says one thing to my face and another behind my fucking back. For me, that is a deal breaker in any relationship.

So imagine my dilemma having a sister who feels and believes one way and me another especially when it comes to the LGBTiQ community. Imagine not being able to trust whether or not what your ‘best friend’ of 20+ years is really and truly your best friend and biggest fan. Imagine having a rush of loneliness engulfing your every being because now you don’t know who you can be your authentic self around. This is the absolute worst feeling in this world.

This feeling isn’t just my own but is shared by thousands LGBTiQ persons everywhere. Religious conservatives wish to prevent anyone who does not fit into their conservative Christian mold from enjoying the same freedoms they take so much pride in. The conservatives feel homosexuality and same-sex marriage are abominations in the eyes of The Lord. They say God is saddened by the SCOTUS decision. They say that same-sex marriage will ruin the sanctity of marriage and will send the wrong message to children. Yet the divorce rate among heterosexuals is constantly increasing. Yet there are sick and perverted men, like Josh Duggar, who are straight and active in the church that molest young girls. There are straight men and women who have sexually transmitted diseases who don’t give a fuck about who they infect.

I’m so incredibly tired of religious conservatives using God and the Bible to justify and rationalize their blatant discrimination against the LGBTiQ community. How do we even know for sure if God is angered by homosexuality? Did God tell you so? How can a deity that stands for love and understanding possibly be upset when we were ALL created by the same person? Certainly when God created the human race, he (or she) knew who and/or what each individual would be when we grew up. Certainly a God of love would love us all the same and not pick and choose who is worthy of his or her love and mercy. Isn’t that why Jesus preferred to be with the sinner than the person who thought he or she knew it all? Is that not why the Bible says love thy neighbor as ye would be loved?

I have an extremely difficult time believing that God punishes us solely because of what we are. I refuse to believe that a book written thousands of years ago by man is the end all be all of human existence. Yes, there are passages that can provide comfort and peace for any situation but at the same time, these stories were written in a time that is not our own. We don’t know the entire context of the stories of the Old Testament to take them as literal as religious conservatives do. And yet these are the passages we teach our children. How can we expect the future to behave as God would have them to if we teach them that God only loves a certain type of person? God, at least the one I’ve understood to exist and grew up learning about, loves us all the same. Regardless if a person is gay or straight; black, white, red or purple; male or female; sinned or sinless; love is love and it should be shared by all and not just to a privileged few.

Thanks for reading…

 

the southern yankee 

I Am Woman… Hear Me Rawr!

Lemme ask you guys a few questions.

Why is it so hard to separate chu’ch and state?

Why are the men of this country and the world for that matter making decisions about women’s health and rights when they don’t know the first thing about being female?

What gives anyone the right to know the private business of another person if the two or more people aren’t fuckin?

Can you tell I’m a little miffed today? No… Well keep reading and I’ll explain why I’m a little hostile.

The news of the SCOTUS decision to allow Hobby Lobby and corporations like it to restrict insurance coverage of birth control and other contraceptive methods due to their PERSONAL religious beliefs really struck a damn nerve. The ramifications of this decision are so incredibly high and no one on the side of Hobby Lobby really understands why. Think about it folks. What happens if a woman who can’t afford birth control becomes pregnant? What happens if that same woman, who obviously can’t afford to take of herself, can’t take care of the baby she did not want in the first place? What happens to that baby? So many questions yet hardly any suitable answers.

It disturbs me greatly that women have no real say what is best for THEIR individual bodies. It bothers even more there are women who fall right along with the men making the decisions about other women’s well being.

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It bothers me that the women in the above picture are celebrating a decision that could affect them and women around them personally. How is being pro-life as it pertains to abortion and not to the actual having a life being pro-woman? Are the women in the picture really for the rights of a woman who may need birth control to make her menstrual cycle regular? Do they understand the notion that birth control can help to prevent the occurrence of teen pregnancies and the influx of children being born to women who do not want them or cannot afford them? What about rape victims? Don’t tell me… the rape is the woman’s fault and it is God’s will a woman carries a child who is the result of an intrusive and vile act of violence and cruelty. why do some people believe that shit?

Sigh…

I am not certain of the country we live in anymore. I am not certain that my daughter and nieces will have a fighting chance to be the smart, intelligent, outgoing and independent young women they have the potential to be because they will be subject to an unrealistic misogynistic and/or evangelical notion of how a woman should exist in the world. I’m worried that as my sisters, friends and I get older will not be able to receive proper medical treatment because of someone else’s religious views. Am I the only person that sees that happening if SCOTUS decisions such as the Hobby Lobby continue to happen in the future?

Perhaps I am wrong to believe that no one in this world has a right to tell me what I can and cannot do and what is right for me, myself and I. I walk in my size 11 shoes everyday. I put on my size 22 pants one leg at a time by my damn self. I work hard to succeed in life, live and pay my damn bills on time. So why do I feel like my basic of basic rights as a human being, a citizen of the United States of America and a woman are slowly diminishing because someone else’s religious views are more important than what I know to be best for me, myself and I?

Thanks for reading…

The Southern Yankee

An OB/GYN’s opinion on the Supreme Court, Hobby Lobby, and contraception

I really appreciate Dr. Gunter’s perspective on the SCOTUS Hobby Lobby decision.

Thanks for reading…

The Southern Yankee

Dr. Jen Gunter

The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, sided with Hobby Lobby (and much of the religious right in the United States) and ruled that a closely held private corporation does not have to provide insurance coverage for certain birth control methods. Justice Alito, speaking for the majority wrote:

“The owners of the businesses have religious objections to abortion, and according to their religious beliefs the four contraceptive methods at issue are abortifacients. If the owners comply with the HHS mandate, they believe they will be facilitating abortions…It is not for us to say that their religious beliefs are mistaken or insubstantial.”

As an OB/GYN I see six disastrous consequences of this decision:

1) The idea that religious beliefs of some are more important that the religious beliefs of others. Any woman wanting to use one of the 4 methods of contraception listed obviously doesn’t share the same beliefs…

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Day 15: A Song You Love Singing Along To

I sing because I’m happy

I sing because I’m free

His eye is on the sparrow

Sung by Lauryn Hill and Tanya Blount

While there are probably more than a couple of dozen versions of this song, my favorite version is from the Sister 2: Back In The Habit Soundtrack. I love the harmonies as well as the rise and falls of the voices of Lauryn Hill and Tanya Blount. Every time I hear it play on my iPod, it takes me back to when my cousins and I used to sing in church every Sunday. We were known as “The Trio”. Every damn Sunday we had to sing at the request of our then pastor Rev. Cones. I can’t say that I disliked singing with my cousins because we actually sang really well together. But at the same time, it felt like a chore instead of it being something fun or something we actually enjoyed together. Sometimes I wish I could go back to those days. When things were simple and not so “adult” like.

Thanks for reading…

The Southern Yankee

Day 19: What Do You Think of Religion?

Oh dear lawd.

I’m just going to get this over with.

I have never really been a religious person. I believe what I believe and I know how I feel about God. But I am NOT a fan of organized religion. I’m not a fan of flashy, panky rang wearing, luxury car driving, holier than thou preachers either. Now before anyone starts criticizing me about my attendance at Lakewood Church, let me just say that’s different. I don’t know what kind of car the Osteens drive nor do I care. I attend Lakewood because I feel at home. I feel God’s presence every time I step inside the sanctuary. So please no comments about that. You will be ignored and deleted!

I’m also not a fan of so called Christians that say they believe in the Lord but don’t do as the Lord or the Bible says. Check out this video I found on YouTube. It sums up exactly how I feel about chu’ch folks. There’s a difference between church people and chu’ch folks. I’ve learned that good church people will love another person regardless of who they are, where they come from and how they got to the church in the first place. To me, these people are the true followers of God because they practice what they preach. They recognize they’re not perfect and that no one but God in Heaven is perfect nor should we try to be.

On the flip side, there are chu’ch folks. You know who they are. They’re sweet and kind to your face but behind your back, they’ll back stab you and throw you under the effn bus. Here’s an example.

Sweet: “Heeeeey baby… how you doing? You aight? How’s school and your family doing? Both are okay? That’s good honey. Alright we’ll talk soon. Tell ya mama I say hello okay? Bye baby…”

Fugly: “Gurl you know that child ain’t gon amount to anything right? I never liked that family no way. I’m just nice because that passa’s family member!”

Obviously, I’m exaggerating a bit but not by much. My grandmother is the epitome of a stereotypical chu’ch lady. I never understood nor continue to try to understand why “Christians” are like that. They preach unconditional love but not for everyone obviously because some say “God hates fags” or “Kill the gays”. Really preacher mayne?! Really?! Give me a break.

However, just because I cannot tolerate pseudo-Christians, doesn’t mean I don’t believe.

Here’s my story…

I grew up in a very small Podunk little town approximately 60 miles Southwest of Houston. My home church is probably the largest (building size) and possibly oldest of the three churches in my tiny little town. In my lifetime, the church has had two pastors. The first pastor lord rest his beloved soul was there until my cousin and I were in high school. He taught me a lot about religion and God. He spoke in a way that was easily understandable by a child and he engaged the kids at my church too. My cousins and I, dubbed “The Trio”, would sing, usher, take up the collections and volunteer with other auxiliary groups. He made church fun. He made it comfortable in the sense that I didn’t have to feel like I had to be someone I really wasn’t. I felt like I had two grandfathers in the church. Papa was a deacon and he and Rev. Cones had known each other for longer than I can even say. If I remember right, Rev. Cones performed my mother and her ex-husband’s wedding ceremony. I had hoped he would someday perform mine but he passed way towards the end of high school. I remember at the end of each regular Sunday service, he and the deacons would stand in the middle aisle and shake everyone’s hands as we exited the main sanctuary. He would also give each person peppermint sticks. Dude I used to look forward to that because I would be hongry. Yes hongry! You go to a black church and tell me you ain’t hongry from being in chu’ch so damn long! And his wife was just as nice as he was. I sat with her often during church and helped her with whatever she needed around the church. They lived in Houston but would travel faithfully every 1st and 3rd Sunday. I loved them both so very much. Because of Rev and Mrs Cones, I really love going to church. I love the way church humbles me. I love to sing along with the praise and worship team. I love how after church I feel a sense of peace and calmness comes over me.

However, when Rev. Cones passed away, a new pastor Rev. Blount came. He’s the reason I don’t like flashy, panky rang wearing, luxury car driving, holier than thou preachers. He’s the reason I lost faith in organized religion. I felt like that even though he had two children, he didn’t really like children. He didn’t engage us at all. In fact, in a short period of time, the majority of the kids just stopped coming. We used to have a large children’s church. One that I was really happy to help with when my mom became a Sunday School teacher. But there was just something about him that didn’t settle well. Perhaps it was because he wasn’t Rev. Cones. It also could have been because his preaching style. I just don’t know what it could be. Now while he seemed a bit shady, his wife and son were the nicest people ever. Mrs. Blount used to wear “chu’ch lady hats” every Sunday. Black folks you know the hats I’m talking about. You really cannot sit behind women who wear these hats because you won’t be able to see anything. Don’t get me wrong they were really pretty but not my cup of tea for me to wear. The son was this toothpick thin fellow who grew so tall my cousin and I could pick on him anymore. The daughter was a DIVA! Like drag queen shade with a triple shot of tea diva. I didn’t like her much. I remember feeling as if we would get in trouble for her mistakes and evilness. Smh that girl was a rotten little kid.

Anyway from the point of when the new pastor came until now, God, Jesus and I have had some interesting conversations. Some of our conversations have not been so respectful from my point of view. Others have been me hearing what they’re telling me but definitely not listening. However, after everything that has happened to me in my life, I’m not sure where I would be if the Lord was not on my side because frankly no human would be able to deliver me from the lowest of low. There is a song called “If It Had Not Been” that the choir at my church sung all the time. I never really understood its meaning until just today as I am writing this post. This song is such a huge testament to my life. I’m pretty sure I would not be here if God had not prevented the asshole who robbed me at gunpoint in 2009 from doing anything else. People can say otherwise but I won’t be convinced by their arguments.

My journey with God is my own. I question him constantly and have trouble keeping the faith but every time I think one way, he somehow finds a way to lead me back to him. In Proverbs 3:5-6, it says “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” That’s all I can do right now because at the end of the day it will be him and only him that will save me.

Thanks for reading…

The Southern Yankee