Category Archives: religion

Fred Phelps is dead

Fred Phelps is dead and the great marriage debate is all but over. I take no great cheer in either.

Phelps, as you probably know, was a former civil rights attorney who was later disbarred and who founded a radically conservative church, the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas. If you don’t know what kind of church that is, then let me tell you that its website is not or but

Oberlin College, 2000. Photo by Paul M Walsh

Oberlin College, 2000. Photo by Paul M Walsh

Phelps and his family — well, some of his family — were and are pretty much the entire congregation. They were known for years in the gay community for picketing the funerals of those who died of AIDS, or Matthew Shepard, or Coretta Scott King, but really only gained a national renown when they started picketing the funerals of soldiers, claiming that they died because America was too lenient to the queers.

I never had the pleasure of speaking with Phelps, but I did on more than one occasion chat with his daughter, the rabid Shirley Phelps-Roper, who is, I can only say, a piece of work. Shirley was not one of the several members of the Phelps family who recently (or not so recently, as is the case for son Nathan) parted company with the family business.

Phelps was not a pleasant man, and I can’t say that I’m sorry to see him depart this earth. But I’ll not dance on his grave or entertain fantasies of picketing his funeral. For one thing, the church says they don’t do funerals (wonder why that is?), but for another, it would be wrong.

Fred and his crew are genuinely are not happy people. Thirty seconds in the presence of Shirley told me that. She is angry, bitter and biting. Not at all stupid, but profoundly and deeply unhappy. Suffering, I would say. She would say that’s because of all us queers. But I think it’s more because she cannot abide in a world that frightens her, that doesn’t fit with her carefully constructed vision of how a world should be.

“Should” being the operative word. It’s a deadly word, one that has the power to completely kill joy. And without joy, life itself is stale, stagnant, ugly. Or dead.

So I’ll not be celebrating Phelps’ death. I am sad. I’m sad that his family has lost its patriarch, and I’m sad that he lived what looks to me like a sad and lonely life, one that many others have embraced. I can’t be angry at them for that, because even though it is a choice, it’s not one that they fully understand, or even realize they don’t understand.

I honestly don’t care what Fred Phelps or Shirley Phelps-Roper or anyone else thinks of Teh Gays. They can think whatever they want. Westboro’s picketing of funerals was shameful and cruel, in my opinion, but not illegal, in the opinion of the US Supreme Court, the same court that destroyed the Defense of Marriage Act.

Both of those decisions were correct, I believe. We can’t be legislating against protests we don’t like any more than we can legislate against marriages we don’t like. If we ban one kind of protest, we must ban them all, and the same is true for marriage.

Frankly, I’m all for banning marriage, at least as far as being a legal institution. It’s an artificial construct, originally designed to designate property. Love cannot be confined to a piece of paper and vows that can easily be broken.

Marriage, like religion, is a personal thing. They’re both about beliefs. Government has no place in beliefs, and beliefs have no place in government.

Of course, taking marriage out of government is not likely to happen, not for a long time to come. So the Supreme Court’s decision is a good one, and it takes the religious argument right out.

Now the new thing is a proliferation of laws to protect religious freedom, one thing that actually is in the Constitution, because the guys who wrote that understood that it is a personal thing. How you practice your religion, or what you believe, is your business and your business alone.

And there it is. Fred Phelps and family, Westboro Baptist Church, the anti-gay marriage folks and others like them seem to have forgotten that. Or maybe they never understood. Their religious beliefs should never touch me or anyone else who doesn’t share them.

It’s not hard to understand. But apparently the practice is too daunting for some. I can only conclude that they’re afraid, and need everyone to believe as they do to keep that fear at bay.

And that just breaks my heart.

Great Americans of the 19th Century

Here’s a list of Great Americans who signed a letter to the Republican National Committee threatening to cut off funding if Republicans didn’t remain solidly entrenched in the 19th Century:

  • Gary Bauer, President, American Values
  • Paul Caprio, Director, Family-Pac Federal
  • Marjorie Dannenfelser, President, Susan B. Anthony List
  • Dr. James Dobson, President and Founder, Family Talk Action
  • Andrea Lafferty, President, Traditional Values Coalition
  • Tom Minnery, Executive Director, CitizenLink
  • William J. Murray, Chairman, Religious Freedom Coalition
  • Tony Perkins, President, Family Research Council
  • Sandy Rios, VP of Government Affairs, Family-Pac Federal
  • Austin Ruse, President, Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute
  • Phyllis Schlafly, President, Eagle Forum
  • Rev. Louis P. Sheldon, Founder, Traditional Values Coalition
  • Tim Wildmon, President, American Family Association

And by that, I mean that they are threatening to take their money elsewhere if Republicans keep shifting to the dark side and doing horrible things like favoring same-sex marriage and background checks for gun purchases.


Stop thief!

Want more proof the National Rifle Association is an extremist group? In Pennsylvania, they lobbied and successfully blocked a law that would have required gun owners to report to law enforcement if their weapons are lost or stolen.

Can’t have that now can we? And that’s not all. Once that happened on a state level, a number of municipalities passed such laws on their own. So what’s the NRA doing now? Working with the state legislature to pass laws that will make it prohibitively expensive for those municipalities to prosecute violators.

Y’know, even if you believe that the 2nd Amendment allows citizens to have whatever type of weapons they choose with no background checks, licensing or anything else, you’d think if said assault weapons are lost or stolen, the owners would want someone to help get them back.

Otherwise it starts to sound a lot like the perps on the cop shows, don’t it? Cop: “The grenade launcher that killed Mr. X was registered in your name.” Suspect: “That launcher was stolen months ago.”

How convenient.

And speaking of extremists, did you see that the Salt Lake Tribune endorsed Barack Obama over favorite son Mitt Romney? Seems the editorial board couldn’t figure out who Mitt is now that he’s pandering after the Tea Party and other religious extremists.

Now, you may or may not know that I pretty much consider all religions cults, but this Latter Day Saints thing takes the cake. I’m sure there are good people amongst the Mormons, as there are amongst all religions, but it seems a lot of ’em know even less about where their religion comes from than your garden variety Christians do.

Seriously, this dude Joseph Smith, see, he found these golden plates buried in the dirt somewhere, written in a script he called “reformed Egyptian” that nobody’d ever heard of and then magically translated them. They had this entire history of people in North America — cities and animals and plants and metals (none of which is actually true, of course, but it’s another one of those Heavenly-Father-put-the-archaeological-evidence-in-there-wrong-just-to-test-our-faith kind of things, I imagine). Thus, the Book of Mormon.

After he finished translating the plates, he gave them back to the angel who first pointed them out to him. Eleven people claim to have seen the plates, but it’s not all that clear if they ever actually did, since even the guy who wrote down Smith’s dictated translation never saw them … and, in fact, they were not in the room when Smith did his translation.

But hey, who am I to judge? Just because Joseph Smith was convicted of fraud … oh, I didn’t mention that? See, he made his living as a treasure hunter. He’d put “seer stones” into his hat, peer into the hat and tell dupes where to find treasure, which, oddly enough, was the same method he used to translate the Book of Mormon, so he didn’t actually have to look at it while he translated. Somebody somewhere got ticked off when the treasure wasn’t there, and Smith went to court, where he was found guilty. Or not, if you believe the church, although it’s pretty clear he was into those seer stones from an early age.

Oh, and every time Smith did something stupid, like, say, getting caught cheating on his wife, he would come up with something to make it all right, like, say, plural marriage, which, incidentally, his wife wasn’t too fond of.

I dunno. I guess you can call me intolerant of other religions if you want, but then again, I’m equally opportunistically intolerant of religion. My mild-mannered alter ego considers herself Buddhist, which she says she considers more a philosophy than a religion. OK, whatever. At least she doesn’t try to foist it on other people.

Neither does Mitt, he says, but his whole family seems awful proud of the missions they do. Like Mitt, y’know, he spent all that time in Paris proselytizing instead of in Vietnam getting shot at, and Ann Romney says they’s pretty much the same thing.

Extremists. The whole damn lot of ’em.

Sneakin’ Sally through the alley

Back in June 1983, NASA did something rather unusual. A couple of things actually. For one, they sent a woman up into space, 20 years after the Soviet Union did it for the first time and a year after they did it for the second time.

For another, they set up a toll-free phone number for us space junkies to call and listen to the astronauts talk. I did that, several times. Just to hear Sally Ride. I mean, wow. The first American woman in space. Space, the final frontier. A woman astronaut.

A woman astronaut who got asked ridiculous things like, “do you cry when things go wrong on the job” by my beloved colleagues after she was named to STS-7, never mind she had a Ph.D. in phucking physics. From fucking Stanford. And she helped develop the robot arm. My colleagues can be such idiots.

OK, but that was 1983 you say. How really different is it now? Quite, actually. For one thing, the United States doesn’t even have a shuttle program anymore, and depends on the Soviet Union … erm, I mean Russia, to get astronauts to the space station. And my colleagues pretty much ignore the whole thing anyway. I can probably count on my two hands how many know that Suni Williams is up there right now, and probably on only one hand the number who know she’ll be the station commander in September.

But Sally. Sally Ride. The name, the woman. Space. Sally was the ground communicator for the 2nd and 3rd shuttle flights, flew for a second time in 1984 and was set to fly for a third time when Challenger — the very shuttle she flew in both her space missions — exploded. NASA named Sally to the commission to investigate the accident, and then later to do strategic planning in Washington.

But politics and science don’t mix very well. Kinda like religion and science, actually, so Sally left and went off to do science, with a particular aim at bringing more kids, particularly girls, on board. She still worked with NASA on the side, and was named to the commission investigating the Columbia accident in 2003 — the only person to serve on both.

Oh, and she was a lesbian. We found out about this because the obituary that she and her 27-year partner, Tam O’Shaughnessy (also a scientist) wrote mentioned Tam as her first survivor. Hell, we didn’t even know Sally had cancer, and now we find out she was a lesbian too?

Good thing they wrote that obit, though, because NASA used its own. It doesn’t mention Tam.

But damn, some of us said, why the hell did she wait until after she was dead to let us in on this secret? Isn’t Sally Ride the very kind of person we want to show the nutjobs that we are not only just like everybody else, but in some cases we are way better than everybody else?

Well, yeah. But Sally didn’t see it that way. I don’t know what discussions went on behind closed doors between her and Tam (although I’m sure there were plenty), but I can guess at what kinds of things may have helped her decide not to come out publicly. Do you cry when things go wrong at work?

Sally wanted to do science, not give lessons on how it is that a lesbian can be America’s first female astronaut and be so fucking brilliant the rest of us should just fall down at her feet. Sally wanted to promote science in a country where half of it — oddly enough the same half that would condemn her to hell for her “lifestyle choice” — doesn’t get that science isn’t a matter of what you decide to believe. Sally wanted to get more little girls interested in science, not fend off ridiculous accusations that she’s a dyke child molester — accusations that my colleagues were bound to take just as seriously as anything she could say to the contrary.

In short, an out lesbian Sally Ride could never have accomplished what she accomplished because she would have been too busy dealing with both the idiots who think lesbians are women who hate men and those of us on our side who think famous lesbians should spend all their time in the spotlight talking about how great it is to be gay.

And that, my friends, is just so fucking sad it hurts to think about it.


Leave it to The Onion to publish the definitively cynical, black humor journalistic piece on the Aurora theatre shooting. It was so funny it wasn’t.

According to the nation’s citizenry, calls for a mature, thoughtful debate about the role of guns in American society started right on time, and should persist throughout the next week or so. However, the populace noted, the debate will soon spiral out of control and ultimately lead to nothing of any substance, a fact Americans everywhere acknowledged they felt “absolutely horrible” to be aware of.

With scalpel-like precision, the American populace then went on to predict, to the minute, how long it will take for the media to swarm Aurora, CO, how long it will take for them to leave, and exactly when questions will be raised as to whether or not violence in movies and video games had something to do with the act.

The Onion did leave out the teddy bear and flower memorial at the theatre. And of course, it wasn’t violence in movies and video games my colleagues obsessed over. This time, they got down to the gun control battle almost immediately, with the usual, emotion-driven, completely unreasonable results.

Can’t we just mourn the tragedy without one side immediately blaming lax gun laws and the other, equally quickly, calling for more concealed weapons in public?

asked one of my colleagues on Facebook, and the answer was quickly clear, from another: “No, we cannot.”

Well, I know one cable television news anchor who wouldn’t take part in the usual bullshit. Will McAvoy. Will McAvoy would be sensitive to the victims in the tragedy and still not get bogged down in the either/or, emotionally charged garbage that passes for news in this country anymore.

Yeah, Will McAvoy, my beloved colleagues. The guy on Aaron Sorkin’s new HBO show The Network that you keep laughing about. Nervous laughter maybe? Because you are the very ones decrying the bullshit that the fictional McAvoy is taking head on. The bullshit that you complain loudly about and never lift a finger to stop.

Hey, I know it’s hard. You’ve got Jane Fonda to think about. Oh, wait. Jane Fonda would be right with you if you really wanted to change things. It’s Fonda’s character on The Newsroom who worries about the money. And threatens to get rid of employees who won’t play the game.

See, here’s the thing. Sorkin, who is not a pleasant fellow but nevertheless does entertaining television, doesn’t give us real life. I’m sure none of you think The West Wing was remotely true to life. It was idealized, the same way The Newsroom is idealized. It’s what we wish would happen but not a damn one of us will do anything to create.

So I’m gonna go out on the proverbial limb here and talk about this like I think Will McAvoy would, and Will — he wouldn’t shy away from the gun arguments.

But he also wouldn’t get into the he said/she said of the pro and anti gun lobbies. Neither will I. Full disclosure: I do not like guns. I do not own one, and I won’t own one. I do not hunt, and I am not so afraid that I feel I must protect myself with a weapon that is much more likely to end up hurting me or someone I love than anyone else. I have fired guns, however, and am a pretty good shot. But I’m older now, and wiser. Guns don’t kill people. People with guns do.

The United States has a pretty high per capita of gun murders, suicides and accidental deaths. It’s significantly lower than, say, South Africa or Colombia, but only slightly below Mexico, and way higher than a whole bunch of countries that have sane gun laws.

Sane gun laws like people should not be able to buy assault weapons. For what earthly reason do you need an assault weapon? It is not a hunting rifle. And 6,000 rounds of ammunition? Seriously? It’s even easier to buy ammo, y’know, than a gun. Except maybe in Colorado or Texas. Obviously. That picture, by the way, is of a couple of SWAT dudes with AR-15 assault rifles and 90-round drum magazines. The Aurora shooter had 100-round drum magazines.

I don’t begrudge anybody who wants to buy a gun for protection, although I do think you shouldn’t oughta do it. I think we need fewer guns, not more guns. We have too many already, and it’s not helping. But no, I’m not for laws banning guns. We need to turn away from them voluntarily.

So naturally, after this tragedy in Colorado, I waited patiently until someone said

If more sane, law-abiding citizens were carrying guns, this guy might have thought twice.

Or at least less innocent people would have been hurt.

Actually, the correct word is “fewer.” Fewer innocent people. Less innocent people — well, maybe the writer actually did mean that — as in, maybe the shooter is “less innocent” than the other people — but I really don’t think so.

Either way, it’s absolutely wrong, unless the “sane, law-abiding citizens” carrying the guns were special ops forces, trained to work against some dude in a gas mask who tossed tear gas into a darkened theatre and then proceeded to use multiple weapons, including the aforementioned assault rifle and its drum cartridges.

No, if “more sane, law-abiding citizens were carrying guns” at that theatre, there’d be a lot more people dead.

But we won’t talk about sane gun laws. We’ll talk about either/or. We should have no gun laws or no guns. Yeah, I’m all for no guns, but not laws to make it so. Just sane laws to keep some of the crazy shit out. But it’s so much more fun and emotional to take extreme ends and pit them against each other on network news. And that’s what the news has become. Emotional appeals. Scare people. Freak them out. Make them cry. But for god’s sake don’t temper that with any rationality.

Yeah, temper it. Not overcome the emotion with impeccable reason. That’s the problem here — and it’s why people like James Holmes and that guy at Virginia Tech go all batshit and shoot up people. It’s simple: We don’t know how to balance emotion and reason. We think it’s supposed to be either/or, and it’s not.

And here, we typically think of emotion as something less — y’know, women are more emotional, and women aren’t as important or valuable as men, who are so much more rational. But what happens when you suppress your emotional side and do nothing to integrate it with your rational side?

You shoot up a movie theatre. Or overdose on drugs. Or become an alcoholic. Or beat your wife. Or kick a puppy. Or put on weird make-up and wear black all the time. Because sooner or later those icky old emotions will show up. Or Wolf Blitzer and a bunch of politicians will punch your buttons and your insides will open up and they’ll just spill out.

We need to learn that heart and mind are the same thing, not two different “parts” of us that can never be reconciled. They ARE reconciled. We’re the ones who keep forcing them apart.

Cuz when you let them be the same … you focus like a laser. You’re unstoppable.

Just ask Will McAvoy.

It’s no use

OK, here’s the thing. It’s not gonna work. None of it. It doesn’t matter how many facts we have on our side, how much truth we have, how honest we are … it just doesn’t matter. It’s not gonna work.

We’re not gonna sway one single person to see it our way. In fact, just the opposite — we’re going to harden their positions against us. Make it worse (as if that could happen — trust me, it can).

And here’s why: The conservatives own the emotional end of this. In our dualist, either/or world, emotion trumps reason every time. They do that because only two emotions are given any credence in this world: Fear and it’s flip side, anger. And those two — need I say it? No mere proof can move ’em.

Fear’s an old emotion. An awful lot of action is born from fear. Ack! Storm! Lightning! Rain! Find cave! Ack! Dinosaur! Make pointy stick!

Oh, sorry. That’s the conservative version. We know dinosaurs and mankind did not coexist.

There’s nothing wrong with fear and anger, of course. It’s all in what you do with ’em. In Conservative Bizarro World, if you’re afraid (and you are because you’re leaders have made sure of it), you must have a scapegoat to blame and be angry with. Fortunately, your leaders take care of that for you too.

This makes things much easier. No thinking involved. The poor souls who have been convinced by billionaires that it is progressives who are elitists never have to make a single decision for themselves. They don’t want to do that because their conservative overlords have told them it’s a big, bad, scary and complicated world out there, but the overlords alone have those poor souls’ best interests at heart, because Socialists! Black militants! Gays! Anti-American! Traitors!

And here we sit, palms up holding our paltry “evidence” in hand as if it makes a difference. It doesn’t. They don’t care. No, they don’t. Not one iota. Because we are the enemy. The strange beings who want to destroy them and everything they know and cherish. Why, we probably have horns and tails … oh, wait. That was Jews. Well, the rest of us probably do too!

You know why Scott Walker won in Wisconsin last week? I mean, besides the billions the Koch brothers poured in. It wasn’t because they thought Walker was a great guy. It was because they didn’t think a governor should be removed from office for anything less than criminal behavior. You and I may not like what the jackass did, but it wasn’t criminal, any more than any other regular piece of political bullshit is just that. You did notice that in the exit polls, the majority backed Obama, right?

We talk a lot about the right wing echo chamber, but we fail to understand what it’s actually doing. It’s entire purpose is to reach that primal reptilian part of our brains, to stir the pot of the emotions and send their minions out torch and pitchfork in hand. In short, to create exactly what we have: Mob mentality.

Surely you’ve noticed. There’s no civility. It complete viciousness. There’s not even a pretense of honest political debate, as if there’s ever been any such thing.

And here’s the real kicker — this behavior is not limited to conservatives. I’ve seen it alive and kicking in liberals too, when their deeply held beliefs are threatened. They too turn into vicious pack animals and try to rip apart anyone who stands in their way.

It happened right here in my little liberal city, when some of us learned that our beloved mayor was stealing us blind. We had the proof. The mayor’s supporters wouldn’t even look at it. “I don’t go on facts,” one guy told me. “I go on feelings.” Hey, great, your feelings are gonna cost the city its charter when it goes bankrupt.

Almost happened. Half a million in debt, which is huge for a city with only 800 residents. We got him out of office, but at a terrible price to the peace of the city and to many friendships.

Those of us who worked to save the city were rewarded by having various county and state agencies called to investigate the most middling of things, and some serious and untrue accusations were thrown about. Ugly, very ugly. Just as ugly as what we see now in our national debate, except the lines weren’t drawn between conservative and progressive because that’s not where the real line is.

The real line is between reality and delusion.

Our current crop of conservatives deal in delusion, and they are masters at it. That’s why they name a bill that guts environmental policy the Clean Air Act.

And that’s why our attempts to fight delusion with truth aren’t going to amount to a hill of beans. Delusional people cannot be dissuaded. It’s too emotional, too raw, too primal.

Too unevolved. Really, they might as well just grunt and point, cowering in the back of a dark, dark cave. The stuff they say makes no more sense than that anyway.

Saw a Tweet tonight for a moronic woman who fancies herself a conservative journalist. She’s been hanging out a Netroots Nation tweeting inanities that she thinks make sense. They do, to her fellow delusionals. The best one was her utter incredulousness when one of the speakers mentioned Virginia’s attempt to mandate an ultrasound with a vaginal probe before a woman could have an abortion. “WTF?” she tweeted. Guess she was still under her rock when that all went down.

So what do we do, you may ask. Hell, I don’t know. Do what you think is best. But know this: We’re not gonna create an enlightened society by fighting. A violent revolution does little more than change the names of the assholes in charge. And an election in the toxic atmosphere we have here is only marginally better.

But it is better. It’s better because we can pick a rich fucker who belongs to a cult, a black guy who belongs to a different cult but doesn’t make such a big deal out of it and who probably wishes he stayed in state politics or community organizing even, or any one of a number of other folks who have zero chance of winning and every chance of throwing the election to the rich fucker if we do the wrong thing. Hell, we might get to vote for Roseanne fucking Barr for president — not that I think she’d do any worse job than any of the others, but the rich fucker will definitely finish what George W. Bush started, and I can guarantee you won’t be happy about it.

So think about it, come November. And hey, I’m all for breaking down this tendency toward tribal allegiances humanity seems reluctant to let go of. It is gonna happen. I’d just rather we chose that path rather than forced it to happen. Forcing it puts us all back at square one, and I just don’t think we have that many do-overs left.

On lifestyles, agendas and recruiting

Ever since the extremists have taken hold of the Republican Party for good, we’ve had a new influx of fear mongering about “the gay agenda.” Hey, I’m down with that. Some of what my fellow queers have in their “to do lists” scares the living daylights outta me, too, although none, that I know of, is hellbent on destroying the institution of marriage or indoctrinating children into the gay lifestyle.

And that’s another annoying thing. The gay “lifestyle.” What the hell is that? As comedian Liz Feldman so aptly put it,

It’s very dear to me, the issue of gay marriage, or, as I like to call it, “marriage.” You know, because I had lunch this afternoon, not gay lunch. I parked my car, I didn’t gay park it.

Yeah, and I like to grill out. I don’t gay grill. I also read a lot, but I don’t gay read. I just read. I just grill. I just park the car. I just have lunch. And were I to get married (which, incidentally, is not something I would do), I would just get married.

Maybe that’s why I don’t like nouns. They get adjectives attached to them. I don’t like to call myself a writer, because it too often gets “gay” or “lesbian” or “political” or “bad” attached to it. Yes, I am a lesbian, and yes I am a writer, but the two aren’t very related, you dig? I prefer to say I write, because that’s something I do. I am a lesbian, and I write. Verbs, they get adverbs attached, but it’s not the same. I do, actually, gaily write sometimes.

I’m fine with being a lesbian, because that’s something I am, not something I do. It doesn’t come with a lifestyle or an agenda. It just signifies that I’m gonna find intimate companionship among members of my own gender, if, of course, you buy it that there are only two, but that’s a whole ‘nother column.

A lifestyle tends to be something chosen. You know, like living in a cabin on top of a mountain or living in a cute little house on the beach and all the attendant lifestyle matters that come with those choices. But I could be gay or straight living on top of the mountain or on the beach, and very little else would be different. Oh, sure, maybe I have more k.d. lang on my iPod than the average heterosexual woman, but so what?

Being a vegetarian is another lifestyle choice, as are having an iPod and dressing in drag. So is religion. Yes, religion. Religion is 100 percent a choice, and your choice about that is 100 percent protected by the constitution, unless you’re Muslim. Of course, it doesn’t actually have a Muslim exclusion clause, but it’s the standard interpretation among the otherwise strict constructionist extremists who think the constitution only deals with things that were available and in use in the late 18th century. Except of course for Rick Perry, who thinks the Constitution was written in the late 1500s.

But religion. Man, that’s a lifestyle. This group doesn’t eat meat, that group doesn’t drink coffee, this group doesn’t dance, this group doesn’t drink alcohol. And all the groups think they’re right, and everybody else is wrong.

I happen to think that as well. I’m right, y’know, that religion is quite possibly the source of all our problems, right after money, although religion and money do tend to go hand in hand. For some, money is religion. But the whole idea of an invisible god … well, let’s just say there are an awful lot of contradictions. And then there’s the deification of human beings. That’s a little much in my book. I bet I could get a buncha fools to follow me around and then declare I’m holy if I gave them enough wine and fish. I’m just sayin’.

But religion, man. Those religionists like to say we queers “recruit.” Seriously? Please. But what the hell is proselytizing if not recruitment by an unspellable name? And what about all this religionist effort to impose some arbitrary “moral” code on us all if not an agenda? And don’t even get me started on what’s “moral” and what’s not after the state of Kansas decriminalized “light” wife-beating.

See, I’m thinking all this bullshit about the “gay agenda” and the “gay lifestyle” and “recruiting” is just one big example of projection, because nobody does those any better than unthinking religious fanatics.

Now, I know that not all adherents of religions are like that, nor do all religions require stupidity as a prerequisite for membership. Buddhism, for example. In my limited experience with Buddhism, actually, I tend to think of it as less of a religion and more of an experiential philosophy. There really aren’t any deities to speak of, just as far as I can tell some interesting symbolic characters, some guy who lived a long time ago known as “the Buddha” who told everybody he taught not to believe a word he says until they’ve experienced it for themselves and a bunch of really peaceful, calm practitioners, some of whom have experienced more of what the Buddha talked about than others and spend a lot of their time teaching what they’ve learned. And saying not to believe it unless you experience it for yourself.

Not at all the same as some of the Christianists who encourage others to experience Lord Jesus in their lives and who, in my humble opinion, are just a tad bit delusional about what that experience was.

It is a bit of a lifestyle, although unless you consider peace and harmony with the universe an agenda, there’s not much of one of those. I know, some people do, mostly the aforementioned religionists. Me, I tend to think of peace and harmony with the universe as The Way Things Were Meant To Be before humanity got a little carried away with the free will thing.

I do have a personal lifestyle. It involves reading a lot, watching cop shows On Demand, being outside as much as possible, keeping my car in decent working order, keeping the cats fed and their litter boxes clean, some travel, staying up late because I work late, visiting friends and seeing the Buddhist Girl, who tells me not to believe a word she says unless I experience it myself, as much as possible. Oh, and gadgets. I love gadgets. And coding, which is poetry. I also like flying kites and running radio controlled boats. Very little of that has anything to do with my being a lesbian.

I also have a personal agenda, or, as I like to call it, ulterior motives. Those have nothing to do with you and never will. Some are directly connected to my being a lesbian, but again, not gonna mess with your life.

That whole “agenda” and “lifestyle” idea is just so foreign to me, really. It makes no sense, complicates things way too much. Involves too many people sticking their noses in things that have nothing to do with them. I’m not particularly fond of marriage, so I’m not gonna do that. Maybe you do like marriage, but don’t like gay marriage. Fine. Don’t marry someone of the same gender. Problem solved.

And please, don’t gay park your car or have gay lunch. It’ll just confuse people.