Looking for Someone Other Than My Wife.

On March 26, Indiana Governor, Mike Pence, signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) into law. There was no secret that this bill was being voted on in the Republican-controlled Indiana House of Representatives. The only question was whether Gov. Pence would sign it.

And the answer is, “Yes. Yes, he would.” And he did. And then the $hit hit the fan.

Pence attempted to extinguish the outpouring screams of bigotry by stating that this was the same bill President Bill Clinton passed in 1993. No, Gov. Pence. It is not. Under the law Clinton signed, a “person” doesn’t include a business or a corporation, whose rights of religious freedom are protected from being oppressed and thus, can use the law to protect itself while denying service to a customer based on religious beliefs.

The intent of the RFRA Clinton signed was clearly to protect REAL people, the ones with a pulse, from being religiously burdened by the government. This act specifically targeted “Native American religions that are burdened by increasing expansion of government projects onto sacred land. In Native American religion, the land they worship on is very important.” (Wikipedia)

Only in Indiana did the law state a business is a person.

Most people saw this law for what it really was — a legal way to discriminate against the LGBT community. I need to point out that in all states that have passed a RFRA, all of them offer legal protections to gays and lesbians. Indiana does not, and Pence stated only days before he signed this bill that adding legal protection to the LGBT community was “not on his agenda.” So he signed a bill into law that would leave a group of people vulnerable to discrimination. And when the public, including CEO’s of major corporations, let him know how they felt about it, he promptly called for revisions to the law. He remarked that he was surprised the law created such an outrage, but what I believe he really meant is that he was surprised so many people cared about the rights of gays and lesbians — people Pence clearly has no concern for.

The revised law now denies businesses the right to refuse service to anyone based on sexual orientation and gender identity, but the act of discriminating against the LGBT community in other areas like Housing is still legal in Indiana, which is both sad and scary.

During this debacle, one of the owners of a pizzeria in Indiana called, Memories Pizza, announced she wouldn’t deliver pizzas to a gay wedding. The publish backlash was so bad, the company had to temporarily shut its doors. A fund was started by those empathetic to the establishment, and collected over 800,000 dollars in donations.

Obviously, there are many strong opinions on this subject from both sides.

I wasn’t going to write a blog about this law, despite how much it infuriated me. If I had intended to, I would have written one weeks ago when the subject was headline news. But a few nights ago, I was at a friend’s house and a commercial came on. A bunch of really happy guys were singing a song with overly, creepy smiles on their faces. My friend (who is married) sighed and commented how much she hated this commercial.

“What’s it for?” I asked.

“Ashley Madison,” she responded.

“What’s that?” I innocently asked.

“You’ve never heard of it? It’s a website for men to cheat on their wives.”

No, I hadn’t heard of it and the line these men were gaily singing was “Looking for someone other than my wife.” I couldn’t make out the second line, but I don’t think it really matters. It’s $hit like this that really pisses me off. Websites for cheating spouses, casual marriages (Britney Spears, Kim Kardashian), and shows like “How to Marry a Millionaire” take a big dump on the sanctity of marriage, yet, I don’t hear the outcries from people, concerned about preserving the purity and holiness of marriage, screaming about this as loud as they do when the words “gay marriage” are uttered.

The entire fiasco of the Indiana law really came down to businesses not wanting to be forced to provide services for gay weddings. Whether that be in the form of catering, providing flowers, baking a wedding cake, or designing a dress. Businesses wanted to be able to use religion and the Bible to turn these “sinners” away. How do these self-righteous companies feel about serving adulterers? I don’t know because I haven’t heard a peep about it. Crickets.

I have yet to read a passage in the bible that states clearly the way God viewed gays, but I sure know how he felt about adultery. THAT was pretty darn clear. The act made it into the list of Ten Commandments of what “thou shalt not do.” Nothing about being gay made it onto that Biblical list, yet, it seems people are willing to push this aside because NOT committing adultery doesn’t fit today’s lifestyle (for some people).

Times have changed, I guess. When the Bible was written, there were a lot less people in the world. There weren’t as many options as there are now. Men today are tempted in a way Adam never was. An apple? That’s child’s play.

Maybe God will understand the dilemma today’s man finds himself in. Women don’t look the way they did in Biblical times. They wear make-up, short skirts, stiletto heels. They get boob-jobs and tummy-tucks, liposuction and lip injections. All of this, to look sexy and appealing to men.

Come on, God. Change the rules for these guys, will ya? It’s tough out there for a married fella. Serpents are everywhere!

I’m being sarcastic, of course, but for whatever reason, committing adultery doesn’t come with the same stigma it once did. But I don’t see how one sin that was clearly written as a sin gets a pass, when a sexual orientation that was never clearly deemed a sin, creates so much hate that people have killed over this bigotry, and others have killed themselves because of this bigotry.

Today, the company Ashley Madison announced it wants to go public.The company declared it has over 34 million members worldwide. I’ll buy that stock and probably make a lot of money because it’s obvious straight people aren’t so perfect after all, no matter how much they (some of them) love to judge others.

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P.S I know women cheat, too, but men were the only people used in this commercial. Also, I know that not all people in marriages cheat. This post was not meant to generalize one group of people.

Photo Courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

A Time to Reflect

Today is Ash Wednesday. The first day of the forty days (not including Sundays) of Lent. Lent is a time to reflect on the days that led to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. We fast. We refrain from meat on both Ash Wednesday and Fridays. Fish isn’t considered meat. Only flesh from warm-blooded animals are off-limits. Sorry tuna but you don’t get a reprieve, in fact, your death rate probably spikes during this time. It’s true. Baked tuna casserole with crumbled potato chips on top will always make me think of Fridays during Lent.

Catholics are also required to give up something they really, really like because this isn’t a time to be festive. It’s a time to reflect on suffering. It is a somber time. Fast food, diet coke, potato chips, alcohol, candy, porn, whatever your guilty pleasure, you give it up. Except on Sundays. All bets are off on Sundays because Sundays are festive days. Sundays are the Lord’s day and we celebrate the Lord. Every Sunday. No matter what. Even during Lent. Meat may be eaten, as well as that favorite thing we gave up.

Truly. The rules aren’t so hard when we consider Jesus had nails driven through his hands and feet on a cross he would later die. All for our sins, AFTER he was brutally, nearly whipped to death, yet still, some idiot will complain about that ONE day during the week he or she can’t put pepperoni on their pizza or eat bacon with their eggs.

Hey, idiot, try some tuna instead.

Having said all this, I didn’t get my ashes today. I haven’t gotten ashes in over a decade because I don’t go to church. Aside from Baptisms, Communions, Weddings, and Funerals, I haven’t attended a regular mass in close to fifteen years…not even on Christmas. Even though I attended Catholic school from kindergarten through high school, my family wasn’t “strict” Catholics by any means.

Still, weekly church attendance was expected when I was a child and Christmas mornings were the worst. I’d beg and plead to stay home in my pajamas and play with my new toys. But that never happened. We attempted Midnight Mass one year to forgo the morning chaos, but there was so much singing and I was way too tired for all of that. I fell asleep against my grandmother’s snugly arm.

I’m not sure the exact moment I decided to stop going to church, but I do remember the Sunday morning when I listened to a priest preach the Homily. This was around 1998. A young man named Mathew Shepard had recently been beaten and left to die in a field, presumably, because he was gay. The priest condemned the act because the Church did not condone violence, and then he told the people sitting before him that if they knew someone who was gay to not hurt them, but instead, help them. Yes. Help them find their way because gay people were clearly lost souls. A little direction was all they needed. A compass, if you will.

The town I grew up in was home to about 18,000 people. We had two Catholic schools and two Catholic churches. Divide up two churches of the same religion in a not-so-big town, and that isn’t a lot of people attending each church, especially given not everyone in town was Catholic. This meant you prayed among a lot of familiar faces during Sunday mass. After the priest instructed his congregation to lead gay people from the everlasting damnation that was surely awaiting them, I looked around me. With those familiar faces came a lot of knowledge of who these people were and I was mostly unimpressed. Small towns talk and it scared the $hit out of me that my salvation depended on those @ssholes.

No way.

I had only been out a couple years to select friends and family. I was young, twenty, and very nervous about who knew I was a lesbian, so I did nothing as the priest spoke his words. I obediently sat still in my place in the pew and listened. But if that would happen today, I’d stand up and leave through the side door, (not the back) and let the door slam behind me so the entire congregation, including the priest…wait...especially the priest, knew somebody had just left. And that somebody didn’t agree with the bull$hit he was spewing.

But I wasn’t so bold back then.

This is the first Lent in years that I am taking part in. For a long time, I would intentionally eat meat on those forbidden days. Disobeying the rules made me feel good. I held a grudge against a religion I called my own for a long time. I know now that I wasn’t holding a grudge against God, but a grudge against the people who worshiped Him, because they hardly ever practiced what He preached. But through all the time neglecting His service, I never stopped believing in Him and had always felt (still do) that a higher power was watching me.

This keeps my conscience on high-alert.

By nature I’m a spiritual person. I recently started meditating twice a day. I sit still, cross-legged, on my bedroom floor. I close my eyes and repeat mantras over and over in my head. I do this while fingering yoga beads in my hands. The first time I did this I felt guilty because the beads reminded me of the Rosary. I can’t honestly remember the last time I prayed to the Rosary. I apologized to God that night while assuring Him that He wasn’t being replaced.

This is just something I need to do.I hope the clarity I gain through meditation will help strengthen the absent connection I’ve had with my former religion.

I’ve asked God to give me time. I’m still alive. So I think He’s okay with it.

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Photo Courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net