Be prepared for a long read. I am getting too old to care…
I want to share a story that I read that truly concerns me. I sit in the comfort of a cushy chair with the false sense of courage that so many others share with me, while typing behind a computer monitor online. I do so in my great Country of the U.S.A. because of my 1st amendment rights in the Constitution.
My 1st Amendment rights guarantees me:
The First Amendment (Amendment I) to the United States Constitution prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances.
If people prescribe to a certain level or morality or religion it does not mean they cannot engage in politics. Having personal boundaries and beliefs does not negate the right to free speech.
I live in a great country. There are many different reasons to be grateful to live here. As any other country there are problems. There have been injustices, and wars and pain. There has been the blood, the sweat, the tears and the passion of our collective ancestors that has been laid to build the foundation of the blessings and opportunity enjoyed by many Americans today.
I am a Christian. I also have the right to an opinion on politics. The idea of separation of Church and State does not suffocate my freedom of speech or opinion. It is not meant to be a muzzle or to ignite an army of infantile thought police. As a human, and a Christian, and an American; I have the right to cognizance and put voice to all relevant cultural issues and politics.
As much as I fail at times at the expectations of others to be a Christian by their definition, or share different opinions than theirs, they are uniquely my own. That is my right. It works both ways. You cannot oppress one group in order to claim another with an opposing opinion is free. Have no fear: one day God will judge me.
I have read several articles regarding recent actions of Mayor Annise Parker and City Attorney David Feldman. I do believe if people cross the line from self-harm, to aggression it is more than okay to simply say NO.
Here are some links:
This is where I have to draw the line. Mayor Annise Parker prided herself in spearheading the ERO (Equal Rights Ordinance) that she had passed earlier this year. Citizens launched a petition against the ERO that exceeded 50,000 signatures. Only 17,000 were required. The City Attorney David Feldman threw the petition out on technicalities. The people that felt their voices were stifled after playing by the rules, sued.
The citizens of Houston that opposed the ERO made voice to one issue in particular. The access to public accommodations, such as restrooms, by people that identified with any gender identity.
In reciprocation, A third party Law firm drafted up subpoenas for Mayor Parker against five different pastors that were not involved in the petition, in order to gain access to their private communications and their sermons. This was to see if they ever directly addressed: homosexuality, gender identity and most specifically the Mayor Annise Parker. It they did express their opinions, albeit popular or not; they are still within their first Amendment rights of having and voicing their own opinions without the help of the thought police. Nazi Germany? As hard as it is to grasp for some, this does include: politics, morality and anything culturally relevant today. Take it a step further, and even if they directly addressed it within their place of worship, anyone present had the right to disagree or to simply leave and never come back or use their tax-deducted income to make a contribution. If the Constitutional rights of a group are stripped, then everyone on either side of the coin should be concerned.
Mayor Annise made a simple claim in her defense that the right hand did not understand what the left was doing. Apparently her staff also didn’t understand that most sermons are archived online with the wonderful technology of the internet, and the information that they sought was only a few clicks away. I thought it was a pretty big deal in our culture to stand up against bullies and people that willingly overstep their bounds? I guess this is where we see people’s true colors. It seems to me there is no equality in mind, but a lopsided caste system, when the same mayor forbid churches not from an actual crime that was birthed by bigotry, but from practicing in what Christ himself called true religion by feeding the poor in her city. She forbid people from giving a hand up to the silenced, the invisible the down and out. That doesn’t sound like the Good Samaritan I heard about in Sunday school. I guess I really did get something out of it. I am not impressed by her version of equality.
While I understand that unisex bathrooms are successfully used in several cities and countries alike. I also understand the concern of some Houston Citizens. As hard as it is to grasp, people all have different thought processes that are as unique as our fingerprints. You know since we all take such pride in being born this way. If the city does not intend to set up multiple private unisex bathrooms, or completely revamp male restrooms ($$$); then the major impact of the change falls on women and their young. If one group gets the raw deal, then as red as people get in the face, it still is not equality. I would set higher expectations on a woman leader married to another woman. I don’t see her as a champion for women. I don’t see anyone as a champion for equality when they only look out for the interests of a small margin and tell the rest to shut up unjustly.
While opening up the private stalls in the woman’s restroom to whomever feels the need to use it without question it could open the door up for people that intend harm. Most women simply do not have the plumbing or flexibility to hike our legs high enough to use the troughs and urinals that make up the majority of men’s bathrooms when all of the private stalls are taken.
While there are ridiculous taboos that demonize sex or our bodies, a lot of people in today’s culture are simply modest. I’m sure there are men that agree they don’t want a pack of teenage girls, or even children that cannot hold it (while all stalls are occupied), or beautiful members of the opposite sex sizing them up or wanting a crash course in the birds and the bees. If some people chose to live a more modestly paced life like that, again, that is their choice and their right. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. I’m sure there are priests, Imams, Rabbis, Nuns and others that are accustomed to a certain expectation of privacy in our culture.
A very valid argument against the Equal Rights Ordinance is safety. Who in their right mind wants to be violated? That has nothing to do with personal labels that individuals apply to themselves or chose to be defined by. Some women simply do not feel safe knowing that certain men have a free pass to use a private space with them in it, without question. Predators do not ask permission before they take from another human being and this just makes access a little bit easier. An expectation of privacy and safety is not a malicious attack or permission for harassment to another group of people. Is anyone among us smart enough to not only offer smooth words but actually apply a resolve to protect all parties involved?
Houston is a known hub for human trafficking. 80 % of human trafficking victims are women and children. One major target where they gather is *gasp* the women’s bathroom. One in four women have survived rape or an attempted rape. Just recently, up skirting woman in public in Texas was considered free speech. Apparently, women have no expectation of privacy under their skirt or in their blouse when someone comes along feeling artistic (or perverted and violating… you say tomato). In our society men and women alike have been violated in photo leaks that weren’t even due to up skirts, where the resolve offered is: don’t do stupid things in private if you don’t want me to come along and violate you publicly. Can someone show me the one person that has never done something stupid please?
Abductions and crimes do happen in public restrooms. I understand that transgendered people are not immune to violent discrimination. Stifling the voice and privacy of a majority to cater to the safety and opinions of a minority is not the valid resolution for all in the name of equality. Equality is for all. This does not mean that people have a phobia or hatred of others with gender dysphoria. If people cannot raise concern about their privacy and safety without being criminalized and criticized (blame the victim mentality anyone?), all the situation sounds like is deflection and another weak attempt at bullying by a bunch of wannabe sociopaths and useful idiots. Let’s try to reason and focus. It is a legit concern to think about those people that would now take advantage of this system and victimize more without the fear of being readily confronted or put in check. It is a valid concern that people without boundaries would wait and take advantage of a system, to an already heavily ignored and targeted group. This is not absurdity. There are people that target women and children. There are violent criminals.
The way that women are undermined and silenced under any circumstance is a completely different animal than transgendered victims of intolerance or violence. Neither form of harassment or rejection to a human being is right. If a person is diagnosed with gender identity disorder and have taken all the steps to either chop off or mutilated their natural self while taking a cocktail of hormones, or doing treatments daily to enforce a fistula that their body does NOT naturally supply in order to join the exclusive “born this way” club, they were obviously never taught to love themselves the way that they were born and it is a shame. It is a shame that they are surrounded and encouraged by all of their “friends” that they are not good enough the way they are, and they must first change themselves in order to love and accept themselves. The expectations we set on ourselves across the board are unrealistic….but nowadays who truly loves themselves the way they were born? Why are some people encouraged to never once love their true self? Why if someone tells them there is nothing wrong with them to begin with, that person is considered a bigot and a hater, while the liar disguised as their friend tells them they will be wonderful if and only after they change their natural self? What about suicides and regret after a total transition?
I do think that gay and transgender individuals across the board are subject to much discrimination regardless. I do feel that they are targeted unfairly and that should not be the case and it will not help anyone. I think some churches pick the wrong battle. Everyone has been guilty of that at some time or another, Including myself. I feel that different people are guilty of continuing to accost them with different ways they can change, ON BOTH SIDES, instead of a friend just being real and loving them the way they were “born this way”, or a Christian telling them all the great things that God has done for them instead of being driven by fear. Fear isn’t unique to the Christian religion. All people have to cope with it in some way shape or form. If they say they don’t, it sounds about as hypocritical as someone that anoints themselves as a Champion for Humanity while ignoring the masses, or I suppose a Christian that acts like their life is perfect. No one’s is. It’s okay. Do people strive to truly help others though, or do they oppress others and then throw a stink like a fat handed bully that is used to always getting their way at home?
There are exceptions to the rule. There are grey areas. There are very rare chromosomal anomalies. I suppose this is where the golden rule would apply across the board and you treat others the way you want to be treated. Unfortunately though, since life is not unicorns and cupcakes; there are those that make it their purpose to take from others, to overpower others, and to control others, and to violate other’s very basic human rights. That is what equality is about. To consider this is true humanitarianism. Why would people be mocked for voicing their insecurities? Why is it okay to invalidate other’s opinions and then demand respect? With statistics that show most women have experienced some sort of violence in their lifetimes, it is hardly over-reaching the reassurance that is needed in order to prove that this will not open a whole new can of worms.
When the last place several people have been seen is a public restroom before a missing person’s case or amber alert, why get offended if people cognitive connect-the-dots is to predatory people that would misuse this freedom or break the rules. Is it or is it not human nature, with or without the ineffective attempt of the thought police? Men that have the plumbing for the stalls are respected, men that are told to cut themselves and label themselves in any variety of label (that other’s run from their whole lives) to define their inner person, still somehow trump the voice of concerned women and their families. This doesn’t have to be so convoluted. There are women that are concerned and they do not hate other victims.
I don’t think Mr. Annise Parker should anoint herself as the next revolutionary. She doesn’t join the ranks of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Mother Theresa or Amelia Earhart for breaking the mold and not being defined by imposing labels of others in my book. Oppressing a majority for the benefit of some might start as a good intention, but as far as history sheds light; it usually doesn’t end well. To enforce her perspective and experience on a religion that predates her existence is dangerously over-reaching for Government. Hitler, Stalin, Pol-Pot ring a bell? So tell me who now is the active aggressor again? To define her own sets or morality on free thinking men and women while superseding their Constitution rights is truly a joke that would only end in weeping for all involved parties. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. To refuse churches from practicing true religion in her city, which is helping: the ignored and forgotten homeless and widow is disgusting to put it lightly. How can trying to help someone that is down and out by offering a meal be offensive? I don’t have a legacy to boast of, but if I did at all; I wouldn’t wish for that one.
On a Christian side-note (we have opinions too!), I don’t want to tell people they are going to burn in hell, I would rather give them hope. I still think the gospel is supposed to be good news. If I had the chance to crush a person or encourage them I would rather do the later. God knows I don’t always make the mark. I know when people have told me that my future was hell and hopeless, it cut like a knife and made me want to give up. I can only speak for myself though. Thank God. I know it also doesn’t take a whole lot of skill to be critical or “correct in love”, everyone knows how to point out faults. I don’t want to get too lopsided where I think I am better than others simply because of my plumbing or beliefs. I won’t let other’s convince me that I am less for the same stupid reasons either. The truth is, no one of us can take credit for what is going on in the crotch region. I also don’t want to be some kind of Ned Flanders entity tool, because of some warped expectations of others about whether or not I can have an opinion or say no. Especially when it is all the rage now to be a bully and a sociopath. Last time I checked Jesus came to give me life and a more abundant life. As far as I can tell, I still don’t truly need anyone’s permission… Yet anyways. I imagine I can say no or have my own opinions or I wouldn’t have been given this free will. I’ve yet to see the day where any person gay or Christian wakes up perfect, but I guess there is nothing stopping us from trying to get better. Practice makes perfect right?
It seems like a line is being drawn and enough is enough, too much of anything is not a good thing. I don’t agree with some things on either side of the fence so I’m not saying I’m blue or red. I’m saying I’m Christian and the pastors don’t need your help lady. Just because we subscribe to a certain code of beliefs doesn’t mean we don’t also get rights or opinions. Did you subpoena any Imams, Rabbis, and Monks? I didn’t think so. Did anyone squelch Pastor Wright, or even WBC for that matter… nope. All these great extremes!
When did truth become something so terrible? Let’s call a spade a spade. If I ever have children I will absolutely let them know if they are born classified as a boy, or a girl, or in a very rare circumstance one of a kind. When we as a society start classifying our children as an “it”, or Purple Penguins, can we even begin to trace back to where the error started? Where in this age of self, did it become required to only accept ourselves after we hate everything about who we truly and naturally are? I don’t care if the useful idiots on Government payroll classify themselves as a penguin, or my pet cat as a doorknob; are they ready to start eating chum and slipping around on ice naked? I don’t think so. I wasn’t trying to hurt anyone’s feelings, but if a teacher doesn’t know the difference between a penguin and a human being, take my advice, that is flat out stupid. They need not teach. I do have a little experience on this rock, and talk about the blind leading the blind…. Sheesh. Can I be an umbrella today? Better yet, if I call myself the bank, will you send me all of your money?
Let me close this babbling with…. You are right. I am a bigot. If a bigot is someone that wants safety, the same expectation of privacy that everyone else gets, respect, a voice, equal rights, to use my own brain without help or coercion, not to be constantly reminded that I am second class; then I guess so. If I don’t like when people hurt me or try to use intimidation or fear to their advantage any more than little Tommy on the playground in preschool likes his lunch money stolen every day…. Yep. I like a different flavor ice cream than you and have a different internal boundary for my own unique understanding of morality…. Guilty. I try, I really do, not to hurt other people but refuse to take their crap… got me again!
I do not see someone who willingly stifles the help of the down and out as a legacy that deserves prestige or admiration. I do not see someone that cannot take accountability for the third-party work that is done under her authority as a free pass at bullying while calling herself a hero. Unfortunately in our world of cupcakes and unicorns sometimes we are forced to stand up. Consider this me standing. You know, behind the monitor and off of my cushy chair. I am gorgeous by the way, while it might not show with my radio face; I do identify as gorgeous. I would have to agree with some of the opinions that make my own stomach turn as a woman: that say this woman has no business in leadership (as much as it pains me) when she has willingly stripped the expectation of privacy and safety from the majority of women, their children and the downtrodden. Make me a sandwich? Okay that was below the belt. Oh yes I forgot, people don’t have the right to eat. Is it purple down there? I rebuke myself. She inflicts her own, where is honor in that? Oh, Oh, Oh, I know scream equality while you strip rights away and the daft will follow. Elevate yourself at the price of others. Then call it equality again and all the penguins will believe you.