Voices of Americans

You know, those who know me personally, know I love America.  Even on its worse day, the country of my birth is pretty darn amazing.  The freedoms we have here we often take for granted, and as someone who has been blessed by being able to travel internationally, I have seen the differences that exist around the world.  One freedom I hold very dear is free speech; sure, I often am saddened or infuriated by some who utilize this right (can you say “God Hates Fags”?), but I would still stand up for their right to say it.

And that brings you to today’s “shake your head” moment – every American, whether you agree with them or not – has a right to share their views.  Political views.  Religious views.  Those who have a larger platform than I do have a right to share it and to call us to stand up for whatever, and those who are “nobodies” have a right to climb onto a box and share theirs as well.  We, as Americans, usually can decide whether we want to follow, agree with the statement, etc.  But to say ANY American should not have a voice is blatantly disregarding the very core of our constitution.

Recently, I read the following post a friend shared on Facebook:

Dear Hollywood celebrities,

You only have a place in my world to entertain me. That’s it.

You make your living pretending to be someone else. You play dress up like a 6 year old. You live in a make believe world, in front of a camera, buffered from the everyday struggles of hard working Americans. Your entire existence depends on my patronage.

I’ll crank the organ, you dance.

I don’t really care where you stand on issues. You see, you aren’t real. I turn off my TV or shut down my computer and you cease to exist in my world. Once I am done with you, I can put you back in your little box until I want you to entertain me again. I hope you realize that the only words of yours that matter are scripted. In my world, you exist solely for my entertainment. 

So, shut your pie hole and dance!

Many liked this post, and shared comments either laughing, saying “amen!”, or decrying actors and actresses for the incredulous act of voicing their beliefs publicly.  In many scenarios, I have heard it said that “they are just actors, they should shut the hell up.”

However, I would like to offer up a few alternatives, because if you agree with the above and want to shut the voices of Americans who happen to be Hollywood celebrities, you open up the door to do the same in other venues.  For example:

Dear Janitors,

You only have a place in my world to serve me, to clean up my mess. That’s it.

You make your living scrubbing my toilets or throwing away my trash. You probably dropped out of school and maybe even get government help on my dime.  I have no idea if you are able to read, take drugs, or have had an intelligent conversation in your life.  You obviously have no ambition in life, let alone have the capacity to have an opinion in areas such as politics.  Your entire existence depends on my crap.  Literally.

I’ll make a mess, you clean it up.

I don’t really care where you stand on issues. You see,  I walk away from that toilet or trash can and you cease to exist in my world. Once I am done with my mess, I can put you out of my mind until I need you to clean for me again. I hope you realize that the only words of yours that matter are “let me get that for you”. 

So, shut your pie hole and clean!

Many would say the above is offensive, but perhaps not the first “letter”.  And to me, that is hypocrisy.  Why would one job/social standing/income be excluded from constitutional rights while others are allowed to have a voice?  Why does an American that has a job that makes more money be relegated to “dance”?  Aren’t they just as American as you and me, even if we struggle more financially?  And to THAT point, where are the letters to professional athletes, Wall Street Executives, or millionaire businessmen who made their money initially from family loans?  Does the first letter suggest that OTHER people who are “buffered from everyday struggles” do not need to shut their pie hole?

Hmmmm.

 

Maybe the truth of the matter is this…….people who don’t agree with your political views need to shut their pie holes and dance.  And that, my friends, is taking the constitution and spitting on it.  And that, sadly, is where I believe we really exist today.  But I will not stop loving America.

A Change of Pace – Not About Chick-Fil-A

I tell you, it’s been a crazy week for me!  LOTS of roller coaster rides emotionally, but I can say as I sit and write this, I know and feel the love of Christ envelop me.  And am reminded to walk in HIS love, and love others as He has taught, and then the rest will fall into place.  But I digress.

Today I would like to share my beliefs about something, and especially this week I learned that everyone has a right to have and share their beliefs.  The spirit of this sharing is not in order to convince you to think the way I do, to point out how wrong it is for you to believe what you do, or anything like that.  It is to share WHY I believe what I do and I hope for one goal – that you can understand MY position.  If any reader feels they need to share THEIR opinion, via public comment or private message to me, that’s fine.  Just please use the same spirit of not telling me or anyone else why MY feelings are “wrong” or yours are “right”.  Focus on why you believe it, period.

Topic of the Day:  Marriage vs Civil Union

During the course of this week, I have heard several sub-topics pop-up as either reference points or proving points within the bigger Chick-Fil-A/Free Speech/Freedom of Religion debate chain.  Some honestly made me roll my eyes (I’ve posted here before how the whole “Adam and Eve vs Adam and Steve has always made me react), though many were shared intelligently and without as much perceived venom.  One such topic was Marriage vs Civil Unions.  And that got me to thinking.

The premise presented (and it was presented in a friendly way) that the issue this person had is that her religion does not accept or approve of same-sex marriage, so to have the government FORCE it or elevate it above her religious beliefs was offensive to her.  However, if Civil Unions were legalized and offered the exact same legal rights and benefits as marriage to same-sex couples, which in her mind also meant it didn’t include her religion or beliefs, she was cool with that.  That way, both groups could be treated equally without the infringement on religious beliefs.

At first, I have to admit this sounded cool to me.  I mean, some of my biggest concerns as a lesbian is that my wife (and remember, we were legally married in New York, so I can say that) will not receive social security benefits, may be excluded from me if I were in the hospital, would have to potentially pay inheritance taxes on the house we purchased together as we are not seen as relatives, and really……the State of Texas (and bunches of others) don’t even recognize my marriage at all.  So, my first response was,”Yeah, give me a Civil Union and make sure the legality is recognized at the State and Federal level, and I’d be cool with it.”  Because really, MY God approves of my relationship so I already have that piece and this would add the missing pieces.

But then I started to think more deeply about this and realized, TO ME, this is only a partial solution.  And admittedly, I’d take it in a heartbeat today, but I would not stop supporting the efforts for full marriage equality until it comes to fruition or I die.  Why?  Let me explain.

I contend such a structure does not promote Equality OR Freedom of Religion!

  • Marriage is absolutely a religious covenant – I don’t dispute it.  But there are members of religions who do not see same-sex marriage as outside their belief system.  While I am not promoting forcing ANY church to perform marriages to same-sex couples if it is against their beliefs (and really, would YOU want to get married in such a church?), to not allow churches who have no problem to perform a marriage in their church to same-sex marriage is not equality.  Both should have a RIGHT to do so, or not do so, as they see fit based on their religious beliefs.  That allows Freedom of Religion.
  • Marriage, whether some view it as a religious right, is not EXCLUSIVELY a religious right.  I was married in the state of California (and you must accept this marriage, for it was to a wonderful man) and it became a legally binding document within the county in which I was married, as well as the State of California.  That legal documents proved to the Federal Government my status, and that of my husband, and allowed us to file taxes together, own property together as family members, share insurance policies, gave us breaks, social security benefits, etc.  In fact, THAT side comes whether we would have married in the church, on the beach, or at the county court via “civic ceremony” with a judge marrying us.  In fact, as the laws stand now, ATHEISTS can get married, get a marriage license, and there is no limitation to their access.  Marriage is a legal definition of a status, not just a religious profession of love, already in our country.  So implying that this “religion only” policy needs to be protected is not valid and, to me, means it is being requested to exclude a specific group of people.  That is not equality.
  • But you may say, okay Gina, I don’t dispute most of the above at all.  But bend a little – Civil Unions will be the same under the law.  But I contend, why the need for “segregation” of groups of people if the law has the same rights?  What if I got a job and my new boss didn’t know I was a lesbian and his personal beliefs were that gays go to hell (and he has a right to believe that)?  Let’s say when I turned in my documents for  insurance, he sees that I have a Civil Union instead of a Marriage certificate?  Whether or not he acts on this knowledge is not the point – I have been put in a place of “being different” than my coworker for no other reason than to “protect religion/marriage”.  I contend that is not equality.  Just as if a religion, who requires boys to be circumcised as a religious right, demand birth certificates for those who choose to NOT circumcise  a “Civil Certificate” instead of a “Birth Certificate”.  Whether or not you agree, at the very core we are segregating based on religious beliefs and that is not equality under our Constitution.
  • I do not accept that my legal marriage destroys your marriage, if I am allowed legally to have one – any more than a drug addict causes you to take drugs.  It still allows you to believe that same-sex marriage is wrong and you have the right to never, ever do it yourself.  Further, your status of a legally married person does not get limited, watered down.  When I got married legally in the State of New York, there was not a line of straight married couples whose marriages became less meaningful, real, or legal.  In fact, my very same-sex RELATIONSHIP has not changed anything about yours.  But, you might argue the “idea and traditions will be shattered”.  Again, what about all those atheists getting married?  What about multiple marriages after multiple divorces?   What aren’t you seeking to block THOSE hinderances to “traditional marriage”.  What is YOUR traditional marriage definition?  I have two co-workers who can’t agree on this; one says it means never getting divorced and staying married until you die.  The other says it means marriage between a man and a woman.  When I asked why both believe that, they say, “it’s always been that way”.  (I won’t argue that divorce has been around since Moses’ time – that is another conversation all together!).  You get the drift – why does ONE view get escalated above others?  What makes it truly right?  Do we, as Americans, demand that every law tie directly back to OUR version of the Bible?  That is not upholding the Constitution to me, because my view is that all Americans have a right to Religious Freedom, which includes NOT believing what I believe or anything else.  So using Biblical Principles (for which I follow closely, by the way) to define marriage as between one man and one woman “as God intended” is in direct contrast with Freedom of Religion.
  • This whole premise just really categorizes Americans, which is really a duplication of something I’ve already said.  But WHY do we as Americans fight so hard to keep everyone in boxes, either to elevate or demonize?  Why can’t EVERYONE sit at the counter for lunch?  Why, instead, or we suggesting that we build TWO counters – one for straights, one for gays – and then everyone will be happy?  Because that right away creates TWO lines to get into the restaurant (or some point of “weeding out” straights and gays).  And that makes it clear, the MAJORITY of straight people want me to stay away from them.  And that is not equality.
  • To sum it up, Civil Unions (to ME) says “your union is not moral enough/sacred enough/accepted enough/mainstream enough/whatever enough to be called a marriage”.  And that is not equality.  And that is not American.

So, now I need to go to work, where I pay my taxes each paycheck like any good American.  And this American is looking forward to the day that I can get married, like my co-worker that sits next to me, looks like me, works like me, and maybe even votes like me.  But the laws today say they have something I don’t, even as I pay taxes, avoid breaking the law, etc.  I can appreciate ANY American not liking my sexual orientation and agree it’s not cool when LGBT shove it in people’s faces.  But I don’t like a lot of things about Americans around me (and I am not talking about “illegal activity”) but is it okay for me to create law after law to control things I don’t like?  No smoking, no more fast food and fat Americans, no more broccoli because it’s just gross, my parents never ate sushi so why should Americans?  You get it.  America is not one to dictate our beliefs, but this whole “traditional marriage” thing smells of dictatorship to me – not the belief part, but the forcing those beliefs on all Americans.

Again, I am curious as to WHY you believe what you do.  But please remember to be kind!  And thanks for honoring my right to freedom of speech.