Beginner's Heart

Beginner's Heart


homophobia & the American Family Association: rewriting the teachings of Jesus

As I learn more about myself — middle age will do that to you, if you pay attention — I realise that standing up for the voiceless is one of the strongest reasons I’m such a loudmouth. (And yes — I do realise I’m always on a soapbox!)

I’ve seen too many wonderful people — from small children to grown adults — bullied. Run over roughshod by people who either a) don’t get it, b) don’t care, or (worst of all) c) bully on purpose. With knowledgeable malicious intent. I hope that sounds criminal to your ear; I meant for it to.

So imagine my horror when I read a recent NY Times story about one of my innocuously named nemeses: the American Family Association. Listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) for its militant homophobia, the organisation has out-done itself recently. It has asked parents to keep their children home on ‘Mix It Up at Lunch Day,’ an anti-bullying program organised by the SPLC’s Teaching Tolerance project.

You read that right: the AFA is boycotting an anti-bullying day. And why? Because the AFA says it introduces children to the homosexual lifestyle…Wow. Sounds like the AFA is the mixed up one…

I don’t understand when being against bullying — which is not specific to gay kids getting beat up in school; witness the profoundly sad Amanda Todd case in Canada — became a rally point for homophobes. For 10 years, the SPLC has sponsored the attempt to get students of all ages (and even college kids need this, believe me) to sit w/ a different group at lunch. To learn about someone different.

Note: despite what homophobes think, there is no single gay ‘look.’ I guarantee you there are men & women you know who are in the closet, AFA. And that you have NO idea. What the Teaching Tolerance project is about is undoing (‘unlearning, as I blogged about yesterday) the stereotypes that lead to bullying. Amanda Todd made a couple of very sad choices. But someone far worse than anything Amanda did exploited those choices, and this poor misery-ridden child, to the point of her suicide.

Wouldn’t it be lovely if our children learned, instead of exploitation & bullying, compassion and caring? Doesn’t that fit the general tenor of the New Testament (which I’ve actually read — like the Old Testament before it) better than “stay away from those who are different”? I’m not sure what Christian Bible the AFA are reading, but the one I grew up on — and the parts of it I still revere — had to do with Jesus taking up w/ the underclass, walking with prostitutes, and promising thieves the glory of heaven. Nowhere in his sermons do I recall a ‘shun those who are different’ injunction…

Imagine a lunch room where the black kids & white kids didn’t all sit apart from each other by race. Where the rural kids and the urban kids shared their sack lunches. Where nerds & jocks laughed about the most recent movie together. And yes, where a child not certain of his/her gender identity needn’t worry about being slammed into a wall…

The saddest fallout to the AFA’s agenda (which has ‘retaliated’ against the SPLC by calling it ‘anti-Christian’) is what children will learn: that ‘difference’ is anti-Christian. That the message of the Bible — love & compassion and tolerance — is, in fact, not what they should practice. And I can’t imagine anything sadder, or more antithetical to the teachings of Jesus.

But then, I’m just a Buddhist and a teacher who loves kids. What would I know…?

 



Previous Posts

form, poetry, and the empty cup
I spent the day researching obscure poetic forms.  And it was enormous fun -- thinking about what to pour into those elegant white cups of structure. Along the way, I wrote this poem for my sisters (the least structured of women). But we'll get to the poem in a moment. Because what's important i

posted 3:41:38pm Apr. 18, 2014 | read full post »

poetry, structure, and creative beginner's heart
Last night, discussing structure and writing with my elder son, I said I couldn't write w/ too much structure. That writing is -- for me -- a discovery process. Structure, I told him, can actually kill my ide

posted 3:03:47pm Apr. 16, 2014 | read full post »

what a difference a day makes (and other ways I wish I was like my grandson)
My grandson burnt his hands Sunday. Not horribly, but badly enough that he cried inconsolably for hours. Today? He's his usual sunny self: slapping the Cheerios on the highchair

posted 3:01:12pm Apr. 15, 2014 | read full post »

in the flash of a moment
My grandson hurt himself today. Not horribly, but bad enough that he's been crying for two+ hours. On a lovely spring day -- temps in the lower 70s -- he was on the deck w/ his folks, crawling happily around

posted 4:45:55pm Apr. 13, 2014 | read full post »

the poetry of every day
It's easy to forget that every day holds poetry. Especially if you're hectic: packing, moving, cleaning a new house, unpacking... Soothing a disolocated dog, holding a curious baby. Eating out of cartons while you locate the dishes and pans. All of this can make you forget the whole point of the

posted 2:46:45pm Apr. 12, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.