How To Damage Your Child in Two Easy Steps


I’m all about saving time and doing things as quickly and easily as possible so today’s parenting lesson is brought to you by Pastor Sean Harris. In his Sunday sermon he was speaking in support of North Carolina’s Amendment 1 which seeks to define marriage as between one man and one woman. I have no idea what the title of his sermon was, but I’ll just call it “How To Damage Your Child in Two Easy Steps”.

Step 1: Vigilantly watch your sons to see if they’re acting “girlie”, and watch your daughters to see if they’re acting “butch”.

Step 2: When you notice those actions, give your kid a smack.

Awesome.

In case you think I am stretching his words or twisting them in some way, here is a recording of a portion of his actual sermon:

Jesus wept.

Hatred is an awful thing, but it’s even worse coming from the pulpit because like the wolf in sheep’s clothing, it cloaks hate with “God’s perfect plan for humanity”. It wasn’t all that long ago that preachers were using the bible to justify slavery and segregation and to decry inter-racial marriage. Thankfully those types of sermons are, for the most part, not taking place today and that gives me hope for the future for everyone in the LGBT community.

I’ve never understood why homosexuality is considered a worse sin than so many others; it makes absolutely no sense to me at all. Even people who interpret biblical teachings pretty literally have discarded many of the rules and regulations (seen anyone stoned lately? animal sacrifice?), yet they hang on to the prohibitions against homosexuality and use them to justify discrimination (Now, whether those passages actually refer to homosexuality practiced in a loving relationship is very much up for debate, but that’s a whole other post).

Even worse is this idea that you can discern from the actions of a young child whether or not they’re gay and then train it out of them. As if every little boy who tries on his mom’s high heels or every little girl who’d rather wear jeans then dresses is going to be gay in their adult life. It’s ridiculous…..or rather, you’d think it was ridiculous but apparently there are a good many folks out there who believe this stuff.

What are we so afraid of that we can’t let our children play and pretend and explore their world without judgement or labels? As a parent I can’t comprehend not loving my children no matter what their sexuality. In fact, to me, the best part of being a parent is discovering, year by year, who your child really is, what their personality is like, and how they move through the world.

One of my favorite blogs is called Raising My Rainbow. The mom who writes it has a son who loves Barbies, and Disney Princesses, and she loves her son…maybe he’s gay, maybe he’s not. Right now he’s just a little boy who thankfully has awesome parents who want him to be who he is. That is what I wish could be for all children.

If you are interested in reading Raising My Rainbow’s response to Pastor Harris’s sermon, it is re-blogged in the article below, and as always I thank you for reading my little blog. If you liked it, don’t forget to pass it along; the more people get involved, the sooner change will come!

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My Mid-life Crisis of Faith (or How I Broke My Father’s Heart)-Part 1


So, now it’s time for me to get personal. I’ve had some friends who’ve read my blog ask me publicly and privately about my characterization of myself as a “former Catholic“. It’s not a story I’ve shared too freely, even with family and friends, because of all of the emotion it stirs up.

It turns out, like many other things in my life, I take my religion in moderation too. Not a great follower of organized religion,  and not an atheist…….nope, I’m hopelessly agnostic.

I grew up in a Catholic family and as a young adult , I found a parish that kept me “in the fold” for many years. The parish priest was a cool dude. He wore sandals constantly. He spent all of his sermons talking about social justice and giving the poor a voice, in politics and society in general. Things I could really get behind.

He was one of the first, and only, whistle-blowers in the clergy sex abuse scandal in my part of the country. He didn’t seem overly concerned with birth control or homosexuality; he always said that Jesus didn’t talk about that stuff and neither would he and then he’d go right back to his social justice work. He made it possible for me to ignore the fact that I fundamentally disagreed with a lot of what my church told me I was supposed to believe. So, I stayed in my comfort zone, I rationalized away my doubts, and worse I condemned myself for having those doubts in the first place.

Then, I moved to Texas.

At first I thought that it would be easier to be Catholic here. Church is such a huge part of the culture and social life of Texans that I thought it would be a great way to get myself and my kids involved and I was looking forward to being a part of a vibrant parish. So I went out and found a huge parish, with a married priest (an Episcopalian priest who converted to Catholicism), and I thought that I had found the perfect place to continue my family’s religious traditions.

Well, not so much.

Not that it was a bad parish. From what I could see, the families are very involved in the life of the church and in volunteering and trying to live their faith. But this was not the easy breezy church I was used to. These folks take their Catechism very seriously, and I was often reminded that there are certain beliefs that go along with being a Catholic and if you don’t believe those things, you can’t really call yourself a Catholic.

Hmm. Food for thought there, but then again old habits die hard so I tried……I really, really tried to stay a part of the Church. Ultimately though, I had to be honest with myself and admit, that if I were to put a checkmark next to every Catholic or even mainstream Christian teaching I truly  believed, there would be very few checkmarks.

So I left. With a lot of tears. With a lot of soul searching. With a measure of guilt. With a sense of being unmoored. And I started on a journey away from the faith I grew up with and into the faith I could actually claim as my own.

So I hope the words of e. e. cummings are true.

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.

I feel like they’re true, and next time I’ll touch on where my journey has taken me so far and about the reaction of my family….which as you can tell from my title, was not what I’d hoped.