Rick Santorum, just stop.

United States Senator Rick Santorum, sponsor o...
Image via Wikipedia

I’ve been trying to stay out of the Republican nomination race, but I just have to say something.

Transcript:

Anchor: Uh, I-I know you personally, a little bit, and my impression of you I’ll share with the viewers is you are an incredibly nice guy; you’re very compassionate, you’re very caring, you look out for other people. When I talk to some of my friends who are gay and lesbian, they don’t understand that characterization of you, because they think that you have it in for gays and lesbians, because you’re pro- you’re anti-gay marriage, and you’ve called it wrong and you’ve called it destructive of the family, and I want to give you the chance now to explain why they should not feel that way about you.

Santorum: Well I appreciate the opportunity, Megan, and the bottom line is we can have a public policy difference about what, uh, what the proper, uh, marriage law should be in this country and what’s in the best interest of society, and not hate somebody or-or feel ill will for them, as I’ve said many times I have friends who are gay, uh, I, uh, I accept them for who they are, but I disagree with them vehemently about what is in the best interest for society and what we’re going to teach our children in schools, what the impact of those marriage laws will be on our faith communities and their ability to be able to proclaim the truth as God has laid it out in the Bible- all of those things are ramification of a public policy debate where, again, I’m going to stand and be very vocal about, but that doesn’t mean that I dislike or hate anybdoy because of their orientation. I respect that decision, but I also, you have to respect me for feeling very differently about trying to take that orientation and then try to project an agenda on the American public that is consistent with that. That is where I’ll have a disagreement, but it’s not personal, it’s about policy.

Rick Santorum or anybody who has used this defense, I’m going to say this about as clearly as I can- I believe that you can tell yourself that you don’t dislike or hate LGBTQ people. But- putting policy into place that denies them a basic human right as well as equality under law means that you more than hate or dislike somebody- you are condescending, arrogant, and bigoted.

That is all.

(Except to say- can we please play “Conservative anti-LBGTQ buzz word bingo with this or what? It’s about the children and what they’ll be taught in school! It’s about an agenda! It’s about being anti-God! Yeah, okay. Because it couldn’t possibly be about people wanting to be accepting and celebratory about themselves, their lives, raise children, etc.)

Just so you know: your Christianity is far less “peaceful” than you think.

I consider myself to be a realistic person, overall. While I may speak in hyperbole in my everyday life (“This is the best thing of all time! Do you hear me?! Of all time!” “Okay, I already looked for that, like, twelve billion times.”) I try to think and speak “professionally” as accurately as possible. I am well aware that outliers do not define a trend. I obviously don’t think that all Christians are violent, immoral, etc.

However: I do think that, pointing out the outliers, when it comes to safety, can be important.

See: Christians Openly Advocate Killing Atheists on FOX News Facebook Page

And, my personal least favorite:

Obviously, the people who are going to “Like” FOX News on Facebook will be a fringe group, probably angrier/more extreme than your average person. And when you add “Christianity” into the description, I’m honestly not surprised about this reaction.

I’ve had many different adverse reactions personally to my proud atheism. I’ve been told that I am a Devil worshiper many times. I’ve lost potential friendships. I’ve been cut off from my immediate family, communication-wise. Yes, this is extreme. But no, it is not uncommon. And, while I’m sure that there could be some atheist parents who would do the same if their child chose to become religious, I would think that this would be an extreme divergence from the norm.

I started this blog to share different views with people who probably haven’t thought about it before. So here it is: religion in general, and Christianity specifically in the Western world, has been the cause of death and destruction where atheism has not. I would seriously like to know what possible, bodily threat atheism is. Has it brought about genocide? Absolutely not. The list of Christian serial killers is far larger than the list of atheist serial killers. The list of Christian pedophiles can top any other list by just including the priesthood. This doesn’t bring up any spiritual text at all, nor any other religious group, most of which can all be counted to be violent or harmful in multiple ways. By any “moral” measure, atheists stack up as much more moral as a group than any religious group does. As Jen McCreight sums it up: “I know this doesn’t represent all Christians, but it certainly debunks the notion that religion automatically makes you a good person.”

So please, somebody explain it to me: why kill atheists?

(tl;dr: Wow, I didn’t expect to be so angry about this.)

Edited to add: I want to add this to make the purpose of my post very clear: I am genuinely interested in hearing from people of all religions, and especially Christians (as I live in the United States, and this is the religion of the majority) what about atheism can cause people to treat atheists so negatively, beyond just disagreement.

Preferences/Racism

French actresses Romane Bohringer and Aïssa Ma...
Who are you more attracted to? Why? Image via Wikipedia

While I usually write about things that I have my mind made up about, I would like to rather start this post with the purpose of trying to spark discussion and questions.

When it comes to choosing a partner, can you clearly define the line between “having a preference” and “being racist”?

For example: it is well-known amongst my friends that I just “don’t like white guys.” I wouldn’t say that I have never been attracted to a white guy, because, when I was very young, I did have an affinity for white boys. However, as I got older and gained more experience with all persons, I started becoming more attracted to “anything-but”. I tend to blame this on my interactions with white guys in my church’s youth group (obviously not too positive) and started to characterize white guys in general as having a gross feeling of entitlement over white women, as though, by virtue of our shared skin color and their penis-having, that I should feel attracted to them.

Things get more complicated, however, when I consider my “attraction” versus “those who I want to pursue.” I have only ever dated men who have at least one parent from Mexico, and tend to date men who are full-blooded Mexican. However, I have been attracted to a plethora of different kind of people, and tend to find men and women of all skin-colors (except Caucasian, of course) very attractive, regardless of whether that attraction reaches the level of sexual-attraction. I, in fact, often find that persons with the darkest of skin tones are the most attractive. I find that the people who I want to date have more qualities that I look for in a mate, and that the Mexican culture is something that I find attractive for my life.

(Full disclosure, however: in regards to finding people attractive based on their personalities, I found Ryan Gosling terribly, terribly attractive in “Crazy, Stupid, Love,” but not until he started being attracted to Emma Stone. Terribly attractive. Wanted to cry and tear my hair out, he was that attractive. Definitely not even in conjecture with his “Photoshopped” abs.)

I’m sure that psychologists, sociologists, etc. would have a field day with this information. But I’m more interested in the reactions of other people- is my distaste for white men racism, given that it is based on personality/actions of the general population? Or is it purely preference, as I have, in small doses, been attracted to white men? How are you attracted to people? Etc.

The myth of “freedom of opportunity”

I grew up in an area that many people deem to be, quote, “ghetto as fuck.” My high school was right across the street from a park notorious for drug deals, my freshman class’ count was over 1,000 while less than 600 of us made it to graduation day, etc. I have always noted post-High School that I was lucky to have the teachers that I did have; while none of them said it out loud, it was quite clear that they were training us to succeed based on our hard work, talent and intelligence because, after all, very few of us had been born into any chances and even fewer would be able to get by on their looks.

While in high school, I was introduced to the idea of “freedom of opportunity.” Supposedly, this was an “American value,” the idea that everybody deserves the same chances in life, and that what they do with said chances determines their future success. In this way, the onus falls onto the government to provide the opportunity, and the people to use the opportunity.

It’s a lovely idea. And it’s bullshit.

I don’t claim that this is bullshit based on personal experience, which would be easy enough to qualify but does not carry enough weight. No, I’m calling bullshit based on facts and figures.

Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce recently published their findings regarding the amount of money an American makes over their lifetime from their employment. The following is a chart detailing pay gap:

From http://kaysteiger.com/

The obvious implications are that, as we have known, men make more than women. While this obviously makes my feminist heart sink, it is the rest of the study that makes me even more angry.

According to these findings, “[African Americans and Latinos] make close to a million dollars less [than Whites]” over their lifetime, even when working the same amount of time and the same position as their white counterpart.

These charts show the results of people from all walks of education, from those who never completed high school to those who have completed post-doctoral, professional degrees. Even those women and people of any other race or ethnicity than “Caucasian” who reached the top are earning far less than their white, cis-gendered male counterparts.

This doesn’t even take into account this simple fact: while women have, technically, surpassed men in numbers of recent college graduates, people of color are statistically less likely to reach a higher education level than a high school diploma. While being Caucasian at my high school technically put me into a racial/ethnic minority within that pool of students, there were far more Caucasian teachers and staff at my high school than there were teachers and staff of color. The reason why “freedom of opportunity” can never be a reality is because, for many cultures, family trumps education. Statistically, many families of color cannot afford to send a son or daughter to college when the family needs money at that moment. Many high-school students, graduated or not, find it much easier to take over the family trade and help their parents rather than to make the immediately-“selfish” decision to further their education. And the trend continues.

Perhaps we should call it what it is: we don’t have “freedom of opportunity,” we have “freedom of white people to make themselves feel better by pretending that offering specialized scholarship opportunities is the same thing as making a culture in which everyone has the same opportunity to succeed.”

Hey, ya

So I realize that there is no reason why my writing should be dependent on positive feedback. That would be selfish and self-delusional. After all, I am extremely honest with myself; whatever I put on the Internet has a very small range of influence.

That being said: after the last few days, coming onto my Dashboard and seeing support that was Tumblr driven has, well, set me at ease. So thank you, Lawsonry, and every person who has shown me kindness since. I’m not sure how you found this, but I’m glad that you did.

(Actual content is forthcoming, I promise.)