Current Trends by Natasha Sapp

To say nothing of those aspects that quite possibly should be deemed thus at least in as much as it changes the public perception, changes the national, religious community conversation. Because it’s bigger than long held stances on homosexuality and by extension marriage equality; one side believing it wrong, the other believing it a step toward treating all people the same. Long held stances on abortion, contraceptives, renewed fervor to overturn Roe Wade when personhood bills dare block certain fertility treatments for women trying to get pregnant, when restrictions succeed in closing down nearly every women’s clinic in an entire state because abortion was indeed one of the services offered, whether it was the most used or not. When all contraceptives, items marketed for the past half century are suddenly abortifacient to religious conservative politicians using such grounds to say religious employers should not have to pay for that which they find objectionable as it pertains to insurance, who likewise have somehow come to the erroneous conclusion women can’t be raped and get pregnant at the same time, justifying their, there is never a need for an abortion, hardline position. It’s so much bigger when a hate speech classification challenges thought processes like Rick Santorum’s assertion amniocentesis leads to abortion, rational for why it should be stricken from Obamacare coverage, veers away from the Jehovah’s Witness ideology equating a blood transfusion with cult sacrifice, satanic ritual blood drinking in order for everyone else to be granted access to lifesaving medical procedures. Yes perhaps classifying portions of Christianity, at least socially, as hate speech has merit when denominations, facets within Christianity continue assigning moral wrongness to otherwise benign activities, bars women from wearing pants, people, either gender, from dancing and not on a pole, bumping and grinding, dancing even in church, precludes, again women, from wearing makeup, and not the stuff that will get them mistaken for a prostitute either. Sections of the Christian religion saying it’s against god to celebrate your birthday, give a child, someone you love a gift on the day of their birth, throw them a party with food and friends, once more not the thousand dollars on a venue type, just good food, loved ones and a few, expense according to what you can afford, gifts, balloons and party hats for the younger crowd, or celebrate Christmas either because Jesus wasn’t actually born December 25, that’s pagan winter solstice or it’s all commercialism, AKA greed, also against god. Most know kosher is for Jewish faith persons and the bible is full of eating guidelines, but banning caffeine, many must have missed that one. Naming parts of Christianity “hate speech” might be a good thing if it removed the moral superiority, the implied spiritual leg up had by people attempting to gather fellow congregants, community members, neighborhood citizens for a Koran burning, despite the violence it could cause, people now famous for holding signs about god hating gays, hating America because of gays, adding insult to injury doing so at military funerals, by people simultaneously getting on a bus singing songs about who’s going to hell the way others might sing 99 bottles of beer. If it stopped stunting science, limiting anatomy and physiology, biology taught to students due to they might also learn about sex, their own bodies, ceased defunding the National Science Foundation owing to their research not jiving well with someone’s Christianity affiliated factional persuasion. If making such a move kept people from being shunned from housing, jobs, medical care for them, their children because of their sexual orientation, transgender status, if it halted the 21st century philosophical spiritual arguments replacing the how many angels can dance on the head of a pin conundrum with pondering how old the earth is, declaring evolution lies from the pit of hell, global warming fictitious and made up by liberals to get what the want sans solid scriptural or factual proof  at the cost of scientific advancement to better our human condition, steadying or improving air and water quality, sound environmental policy to ensure our grandchildren’s children have a planet to live on regardless who exactly is responsible for climate change. But Christianity will never be classified as hate speech even in the social arena precisely because we possess freedom of religion and Christians, no matter the flavor, are endlessly eager to exercise it, exercise their constitutional right to petition the court on behalf of that freedom.

Still there was Marco Rubio last week sounding the alarm warning his fellow faith members that’s exactly where the wind was blowing; oddly no not from ISIS, home grown loan, wolf terrorists who instead of trying to go to Syria are acting right here at home to kill, torture and maim nonbelievers as Jihad, their propaganda machine recruiting more and younger and younger youth thanks to social media, Islamic extremist who want to enact sharia law the world over. None of that colored Rubio’s comments, nor polling suggesting more and more Americans are losing their religion, choosing unaffiliated if not downright atheist; what did manage to get his political feathers in an uproar regarding faith in American life, gay marriage, the fight for marriage equality, the so called gay liberal agenda/machine shouting “get on board or die.” Realistically his words were, if you don’t accept gay marriage you are labeled homophobic, a hater; he went on to elaborate we’re coming to the point where the teachings of mainstream Christianity, the Catechism of the Catholic Church is hate speech. This from the people who supported Christian owned Hobby Lobby and won, loved the court system, particularly the Supreme Court, when they rendered the Hobby Lobby decision in their favor, and, as ridiculous as it is to others, that chain now does not have to provide birth control insurance coverage under Obama care upholding their religious beliefs as a corporation, yay. A decision that may come back to bite both Christians and the Supreme Court as satanists are using their argument against them to address bodily autonomy, the Hyde amendment and condescending informed consent laws mandating women be given asinine, dubiously factual pamphlets regarding what they are about to do, going to the deeper challenge are all religions and the constitutional guarantee of freedom of religion equal in the eyes of the court? Or is Christianity elevated to a higher standing, take it as a pun or not; Chris Hayes citing sitting Justice Scalia’s written decision on another case centering around religious liberty saying you can’t smoke peyote religiously if it isn’t legal. However the ruling was made, has held,  likely against an American Indian, a tribe of Native Americans enduring one more slight on behalf of good, Christian, civilized people. The Hobby Lobby ruling that has emboldened Christians nationally, Christian legislators to push forward with religious restoration acts, attempts to ban gay marriage and a plethora of objectionable behaviors under federal or local law independent of being asked to by their constituency, pleas from Christian  workers, business owners who say they feel persecuted by anyone, gay or something else. Yet somehow Christianity is under attack, it’s time to begin the panicked chicken-little-ism announcing the spiritual sky is falling; presenting direct contrast to now official presidential candidate Rubio’s argument is the case surrounding Christian high school student Michael Keal repeatedly suspended for passing out Christian religious tracks at his school. After numerous complaints from the student body and his 3rd suspension, based on his violation of a weird school policy preventing students from passing out flyers and related materials they did not make themselves, he pursued legal action; not only did he win a revoke of his active suspension immediately returning him to class, a judge ordered his prior suspensions for the “offence”  erased, going a step further, telling them to get rid of the policy causing the problem, meaning he will continue to be able to witness to his fellow students. Keal hardly alone in his victory against a public school system clinging to the most extreme interpretation involving separation of church and state; yearly around graduation season there is usually one threat of  lawsuit leveled toward a speaker who dared say god bless you, or mention god without the accompanying sarcasm, dared quote scripture from the bible. Students have fought and won the right to have inspirational scripture signage at football games, bible reading and Christian instruction have been brought back in schools via requested, optional extracurricular activities, but Christianity is in danger because gays, lesbians want to love and marry like everyone else. Rather they are fed up, sick and tired of the violence committed against their person, the discrimination heaped upon them by society’s at large, fear in getting/keeping a job, renting an apartment, finding a doctor, walking down the street or frequenting a restaurant, because a few individuals don’t agree with their sexual behaviors, sexual behaviors no one is asking them to participate in, would prefer you not comment on. They are complaining LGBT groups are calling their religion hate speech because someone dared call the flag on the aforementioned examples of hate not necessarily the religion as a whole; proving the clear and present danger Marco Rubio spoke of concerning Christianity is Christianity itself, proliferated via factional interpretations by leaders who may well be distorting original teachings through their own ignorance, to support their own mental instability, borderline psychosis, long held prejudice that doesn’t line up  with the bible.

Interesting, also considered homophobic, hateful, either by LGBT persons or anyone with an objective eye, constant harassment and abuse leveled at openly homosexual persons recently spearheaded legislatively by the Republican Party, insisting on passing bills like SB1062 circa Arizona which would have overridden city, county wide  anti-discrimination wording to statutes directed toward including  not excluding the LGBT community, opening the door for them to be refused service at any business there sometime in the near future.  Religious freedom restoration acts circa Indiana again opening the door to refusal of service by any business, not just those providing wedding accessories, due to the very suspicion of being gay/lesbian actually signed into law, remaining law, the only caveat brought on by public pressure protection language for LGBT persons added to anti-discrimination statutes; Arkansas’ similar bill abandoned in the wake of Indiana backlash. Legislation prompting the comments given by a local pizzeria about under which circumstances they would and would not serve a gay/lesbian couple, highlighting too under the signed, official law business owners believed they had the right to eject, disallow gay persons into their establishment; compounded 10 fold because Indiana’s anti-discrimination laws had no language addressing sexual orientation, gender identity. But gays and lesbians sole reason for pursuing marriage equality is to flout god, mainstream their heathen, abomination centered ways, so the religious minded would have the rest of America believe; not say oh, who could forget the CEO of Chick-fil-A suddenly treating his restaurant like a Sunday morning pulpit decrying gay marriage for no other reason than to do it, story after story involving gay/lesbian persons being thrown out of cabs, left on sides of highways while with a date, committed partner, ousted from their hospital room. What’s next faith minded business owners permitted to distribute questioners to customers outside a restaurant, an accounting firm able to reject potential clients because a woman is wearing pants, makeup, drinks coffee, soda, here’s one, watches TV, listens to secular music, they want to book your restaurant for a birthday party, because that is where we’re going, far more scary than taking the hate out of messages against homosexuality. Sentiment originating not from religious zealots prone to holding signs, standing outside courthouses chanting Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve, known to spit on gays, lesbians, randomly walk up and lecture them about the reality they will burn in hell, their ultra-religious family members who drag them to church to hear the same message in surround sound, instead issuing forth from the seat of our democracy, from our lawmakers, elected leaders who believe they have nothing better to do on the behalf of their constituency than to ram through legislation characterized as a solution looking for a problem, worse a license to discriminate. Legislation giving off the irrefutable impression to both gay people and ordinary onlookers not only are gay people second class citizens somehow deserving of their “lesser,” “inferior” status because of their choice of lifestyle, but communicating LGBT persons, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender are equally somehow unworthy of the designation human being, are less than human due to their lifestyle, have more in common with animals than the rest of their 2 legged, walking upright peers because of their sexuality; worth pointing out, only one aspect of their life, their personality, their character, one aspect comprising who they are. Religious persons seemingly incapable of understanding, the last to understand you don’t have to accept, embrace, condone, endorse, homosexual behavior, love or marriage to tolerate them, recognize they have as much right as you do to exist, to be, to live unhindered provided they obey the laws of the land, respect the guidelines of law and order; you have the right to hold to your beliefs while just letting them go about their business, just leaving them alone. Religious persons appearing immune to the fact they still have the right to call homosexuality wrong, preach that, their truth from a pulpit, stand on street corners preaching the abomination of homosexuality if they so choose provided they abide the regulations governing peaceful assembly, choose as Christians they will not engage in that behavior because of their belief. Yes gay, activity may be wrong, gay marriage may be wrong; but what’s equally wrong, attempting to deny a person a job because they are gay owing to the other profound truth, a person’s sexual orientation has no bearing on their ability to make a sandwich, provide customer service, answer phones, sell electronics, real-estate, auto parts, give financial advice, clean a toilet. Being gay doesn’t mean you somehow defile a dwelling enough or in any way that should bar you from renting from a Christian landlord, and if you are a Christian landlord that’s how business works, you serve all; your doors are open to all with few stipulations. Gay sex, gay marriage may be wrong but decidedly more wrong, to say nothing of hypocritical, purportedly good Christian boys and girls, young women and men tying someone to a fence and hitting him with things until he’s dead, so injured he’s about to be, beating the crap out of a gay person randomly walking down the street, having their arm around a partner, high school, college aged young people documented taking their openly gay, suspected gay classmate out into a field tying him naked to a pole, sexually assaulting them, fondling, groping, forcing them with objects because they are gay, laughing and telling them they liked it, due to their sexual orientation. Gay relationships may be wrong, gay marriage may be wrong but, better question is, is it still wrong when the underlying plea is for respect, equal respect as human beings? Most would say not, and demanding respect as fellow human beings is not, demanding an end to that brand of hate is not; neither of which is labeling the pillars of Christianity hate speech.

Rubio holds up as an example religion under persecution, about to be relegated to hate speech the Catechism of the Catholic Church, cue mirthless, sardonic laughter echoing the words you can’t be serious; making positive mention of the Catholic Church today is tantamount to PR suicide. The same Catholic Church who has had as many or more moral problems than the average only semi-religious, non-religious person dating back to the crusades, a “holy” reason to rape and pillage from people able to make better stuff than you, the Spanish inquisition, a precursor to the puritan dark ages, murdering people who weren’t believers or simply weren’t spiritual enough for their inquisitors and let’s not forget Martin Luther’s 95 theses prior to which the church was in the habit of selling indulgences for money, free passes to sin supposedly without eternal consequence. A Catholic Church deviating, setting itself apart continuing to teach the existence of purgatory, despite criticism of evangelicals also at odds with so called Marianism, praying to, even worshiping the Virgin Mary, prayer to angels rather than directly to Jesus, as evangelicals practice. A Catholic Church who has consecutively spent decades upon decades railing against the sinfulness of divorce, causing good, Catholic women to stay in potentially abusive, certainly dysfunctional relationships, independent the fact that, though it is not his first, ideal choice, direction for a person’s life, god allowed divorce as far back as the old testament to prevent the harm, death of women. An identical Catholic Church in the modern era preaching relentlessly on the immorality, the sin of not just abortion but birth control, taking steps lifestyle, medically to not have children despite, astute atheists, simply non-religious people pointing out the bible never mentions either because they didn’t exist back then. Though the next logical argument is extrapolated from thou shalt not kill and the common sense said commandment should apply all the more to the unborn, yet by that same token reading just a fraction of the parables on good stewardship encompassing money and goods, embodying the maxim if you don’t work you don’t eat, one can easily concurrently extrapolate the profound stupidity and inviting judgment of procreating yourself out of being capable of providing for your family. Oh and here’s the biggie besides having no answer on why god condemns Catholics who divorce but not Anglicans, ordains Anglican women priests yet not catholic ones, denies Catholic priests the sacrament of marriage yet not Anglican priests, that discrepancy often justifiably blamed for the sexual anxiety, tension contributing to the pedophilia, sexual abuse running rampant though the Catholic Church. The pedophilia, sexual abuse largely covered up decade after decade, shifting known guilty priests from parish to parish rather than taking appropriate steps to see them removed from the priesthood, put in jail, placed in a treatment program before ever thinking about releasing them back into society, there is what pope Francis had to say regarding gay persons, asking who am I to judge indicating  an acknowledgement of homosexuals’ humanity over their sin, returning to the maxim god hates the sin not the sinner. Statements aligning with chastisement dished out to the Christian evangelical body reminding them their goal is to witness to these people, bring them into the church, convince them of god’s love, compel them to change through that, not shun then forget about them. Predictably it isn’t the first time basic foundations of Christianity, Catholicism or other branch, have been used to support hate, dislike, vitriol and the status quo; such was the case with segregation, suppression of interracial marriage under the idea god finds that too an abomination, supported the subjugation, domestic abuse of women on the passage women are to submit to their husband. Nor will legalizing gay marriage nationally lead to tens of thousands of abortions as a petition to the Supreme Court suggested arguing legalizing same sex marriage would lower across the board marriage rates, meaning more single women who statistically get more abortions than married women. Except those same statistics show exactly zero correlation between legalizing same sex marriage and any effect on straight marriage rates, by the numbers or trends observed via observation, survey. Resulting in a nonsense argument reminiscent of controversial tiger mom Amy Chua’s “revelation” drums lead to drugs, huh? And hating belief systems ripe to perpetuate exploitation and abuse, manipulation, conjuring of “fact” isn’t the same thing as determining a religious denomination hate speech.

Christianity centered conservative politicians, prominent figures known for pounding the values pulpit in public doing something else in private; our latest falls from grace Josh Duggar, and surprise, of all surprises once high ranking Republican Dennis Hastert facing indictment on charges he violated banking rules then lied to the FBI about financial dealings, efforts to cover up alleged sexual misconduct while he was a high school wrestling coach. Regarding Duggar, the more the public hears, the more incensed they become on the subject of apparent teen pedophile Josh molesting 4 of his sisters and a babysitter. Worse than his admitted actions is the response by his parents, fellow faith members, fellow conservatives willing to chalk up his obviously deviant, devastating and downright dangerous, perverted behavior to youthful mistakes despite his parents waiting a year to tell any police authorities, choosing to tell a state trooper later arrested for child porn, never getting Josh, or his sisters for that matter, any formal professional help. Rather sending Josh to do manual labor away from the home or spend time in a Christian training center run by a founder accused in multiple instances of harassing teen girls; incriminating details indicating things like they put locks on bedroom doors after what happened with Josh. When the relevant police entity was finally alerted, Duggar senior refused to let Josh answer questions relating to his admitted actions, hiring a lawyer able to ensure Josh did not have to answer questions, elder Duggar telling his version of events transpiring over 2 years that have been disputed by the select few he made aware of the situation. Key damming details like once the molestation allegations were made public their states child protective services placing a 911 call requesting a police escort, police presence as they were there to check on the welfare of remaining minor children in the Duggar home and were being denied access. Moving a once thought wholesome family with novelty, interesting ways to cult status a-la Warren Jeffs to be automatically distrusted, religious minded supporters including presidential candidate Mike Huckabee and one Texas pastor’s wife who called what Josh did “playing doctor” seen as the problem, right up there with Christianity, by people who’ve had the benefit of basic sex ed., know rudimentary psychology covering briefly sexual predators, not barred from it by  religious teaching saying education, even about sex, about unsavory things that do happen in the world is bad. Addressing Hastert according to court documents he broke federal banking laws to pay three and a half million dollars to a man only known as individual A as hush money, compensation for  an illicit, homosexual affair with a high school student where he was a teacher, wrestling coach; accusations given further strength and credence by the convincing story of a Montana women who says her bother, one Steven Reinbolt, told her his first same sex experience was with Hastert, information she garnered when he came out as gay to his family. Hastert’s plot thickening viewing his public record in congress voting yes on the marriage Protection Act blocking federal judges from rendering decisions on same sex marriage, was the leading republican in a drive for a federal ban on same sex marriage via constitutional amendment, lastly, voting against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act designed to protect the LGBT community in the workplace. Known gay congressman Barney Frank, sexual orientation aside, being absolutely correct in citing an ironic correlation between his record and his involvement in a same sex, inappropriate relationship; Hastert’s history filled with more black mark contradictions in heading the charge to impeach president Clinton regarding his sexual contact with an intern, cognizant of what he had done with significantly younger high school boys, the all too often present issues heralding him becoming speaker himself, surrounded by  fellow republicans, remember branded as the values party, unable to keep the post due to run of the mill sexual indiscretions, cheating on their wives, recently resurfaced republican tinfoil hat Newt Gingrich, another stepping down after having had sex with a lobbyist. And now politicians all are pinning for the Clinton years of economic growth, bipartisan passage of legislation, succeeding in getting things done. Proving the loudest opposers on moral fights are the ones with the biggest hang ups, personal problems adjacent to whatever it is; Josh Duggar and the Dugger clan on transgender bathrooms and what girls might see or Hastert on same sex relationship equality. Hating that, hating institutions, no matter their origins, that facilitate, inequality, abuse, subjugation by gender, individuals who hypocritically do so isn’t the same thing as hate speech.

Demonstrating people aren’t losing their religion because of Dan Brown and his Da Vinci Code, fiction masquerading as religious history, lies perpetrated about the religious history of Christianity, the proliferation of the internet and/or scientific findings dispelling the need to use god to explain previously misunderstood scientific processes, weather events, cause people to feel safe in an otherwise mysterious and scary world. Nor is it science dispelling the likelihood of biblical happenings, religious views on how old the earth is, how it was created, the morality of abortion, homosexuality, the lack thereof; people are losing their taste for religion, in this instance Christianity, because of its members hypocritical, abhorrent, no better than everyone else behavior. Behavior they then either utterly lie about instead of owning up to their mistakes, handling the fallout, or try to dismiss and downplay serious breaches in any moral, legal code many individuals don’t engage in, not for fear of legal trouble, incarceration, but because they inherently know it is wrong, disgusting, i.e. the sexual abuse and abuse of power for sexual gratification done by Duggar and Hastert. Americans have lost their patients with religion, any religion less because of 9-11, terrorists, wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, losses suffered there, Islamic extremism and more because we, in terms of our leaders, who we willingly elect to represent us have traded  circular debates on religion, keeping in mind Rubio is the same guy who couldn’t answer a fundamental question, do you believe in science, said he didn’t know how old the earth is, implying he didn’t subscribe to standard scientific information, for worthwhile discussions and discourse, funding on infrastructure, jobs, corporate tax reform, corporate business practice reform, cultivating alternative energies, a sensible, fair ruling on immigration, voting rights, a livable minimum wage, race and the police force in this country, cutting brutality, black and brown needless deaths.  For growing numbers distancing themselves from religion, Christianity especially it isn’t merely their fellow Americans have these beliefs so counter to increased inclusion, arcane in their thoughts on race, interracial interaction, sex, not even necessarily the popularity today of premarital sex, but outright paranoia about sex ed., appearing utterly clueless about the human body, knowledge readily accepted and understood on topics like rape, sexual abuse, domestic violence, dynamics behind abortion, they vehemently don’t agree with. It’s supposed, purported Christians’ abysmal handling of those beliefs absent any tact, compassion, love, their religion preaches, any comprehension of the professional, the appropriate the dignified way to interact among those different from you; when you think it’s ok to flake on a well-baby checkup for new lesbian parents because you prayed about it that morning even after meeting them previously, when you think it’s ok to deny a homosexual man his HIV medication due to his lifestyle or simply are under the impression you win points with god, increase your chances of getting into heaven habitually harassing teenagers over their viable bra strap accompanying a tank top, their length of skirt a half an inch too short for the school dress code, disagreeing the sundress, tank top straps really are 3 fingers thick is the problem. Christian business owners who refuse to market to the Christian audience, clientele they would prefer to attract in businesses likely to run afoul of their beliefs then all upset when it happens. Quick to jump in front of camera crying persecution, offense to their religious freedom without ever stopping  doing weddings in their flower shop when it looked like their state was poised to legalize gay marriage, once in court closing and selling the business to pay legal fees; no just look pitiful and talk about the possibility of losing your house after denying the gay man you cultivated a professional relationship with, having provided his floral needs in the past, flowers for his wedding  without realizing he was willing to take his flowers and go, without the accompanying wedding hoopla usually attached out of respect for your beliefs,  Barronelle Stutzman’s problem. Moving out of your state, relocating to an online venue in the case of the infamous Klein’s and their bakery, the latter of which they did only to avoid civil rights charges. Need we wonder why people are abandoning religion, are tempted to call what they see hate mongering, hate speech?