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​Imagine

by Ed Raymond | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Gadfly | April 15th, 2015

Photo by Guillaume Paumier

Imagine Being Gay In Grassy Butte Or Willow City

Memo to the North Dakota House of Representatives: The times they are a’changin.’

Science continues to rip away the shroud of ignorance surrounding religious beliefs. Perhaps baseball fans recall a player by the name of Billy Beane who played for the Dodgers, Tigers and Padres in his major league career. He has been employed by Major League Baseball to serve as an intermediary between the LGBT community and pro baseball. He came “out” after his career ended. In a National Public Radio interview Beane described how difficult it was to be gay and play in the majors when there wasn’t a confessed gay in all of professional baseball.

While playing for the Padres he lived with his partner who eventually died of HIV-AIDS on an opening day. Beane did not visit his partner in the hospital, and dared not be with him when he died. Although he was grieving, he played the opening game in the afternoon as if nothing had happened.

Beane is now working with major league clubs to create an atmosphere of acceptance for gays on the field and in the stands. It’s not easy. A New York Mets player recently challenged him with this remark: “Because I’m a Christian I can never accept your lifestyle.”

Aye, there’s the crux of our current kerfuffle.

Population experts have estimated that since Pithecanthropus erectus walked the earth, 100 billion humans have lived and died. Various LGBT organizations and population researchers estimate that up to 10 percent of any population is gay (Which apostle, folks?).

So 10 billion members of the LBGT community are dead. We must assume that gays existed long before Leviticus was put on leather around 1445 B.C., long before Christianity existed as a religion. It is something to contemplate for me, a person born before television, computers, rock and roll, Neil Armstrong walking on the moon, millions of scientific discoveries and before we had electricity on our farm.

Homosexuality is Probably Common Among Millions of Species and We are Just One of Them

Scientists have estimated that there might be up to 8.7 million species on earth, many of them not discovered or sorted yet. They have just determined the huge herbivore brontosaurus does not belong to the same species as T. Rex, the stegosaurus and the triceratops.

That’s a big deal because it’s another species. Researchers have determined that animals just don’t evolve much. Over long periods of time they grow and change in size, color and sex. Look at all the 7-footers on basketball courts and the 350-pound tacklers in football.

The Norwegian Natural History Museum and the University of Oslo have combined to study homosexuality in species. They have given up after not finding a strictly “straight” species in their first 1,500 examinations. We hear a lot from the Vatican and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops about “natural law.” By stating that gays deviate from natural law and are “intrinsically disordered and evil,” they reveal their ignorance of science and genetics.

Norwegian researchers challenge the premise that homosexuality is unnatural. They say: “Homosexuality is both common and highly essential in the lives of a number of species.”

Our closest cousins, the chimps, are bisexual—and it is the essential business of the chimp family because it substitutes for violence. Same-sex activity is the typical method of solving conflicts. Male lions band with their brothers by having sex with one another. It tends to ensure loyalty within the pride. Homosexuality is common among dolphins and killer whales.

Male pairs of whales stay together for years, while male killers stay with female killers for only a few sexy moments. Gorillas have sex with any male or female that strolls close. Their social network remains solid. Some animals live a completely homosexual life. Many birds pair for life. If you see two geese by water, they could be pairs of males or females. Single females solve the procreation problem by laying eggs in the nests of male or female pairs. When you see a colony of black-headed gulls it is very likely that every tenth pair is lesbian.

That’s enough examples—but remember even crabs and worms can be homosexual. So far, they have found that only in species that have no sex does homosexuality not exist. From my Catholic catechism days I do remember the lectures about masturbation being a sin against nature and natural law.

The Norwegian researchers have a good laugh over this. Evidently masturbation is common among most animals. They have observed it among primates, killer whales, penguins and dozens of species. They say: “There are plenty of animals who will masturbate when they have nothing better to do.”

Evidently a lot of humans have time on their hands and other things….

How Do Religions Get From Genesis yo Mortal Sin When God Has Created Everything?

Every tribe society and religion has a broad range of gender-variant children and adults. Are they victims of Satan or are they angels of God?

In the book “You Are You,” a four-day wilderness camp is designed for gender-variant children ages six through twelve. The parents set up camps in rural settings each year so their children are not constantly bullied and beat upon by other Christian children. The children are a mixture of biological girls who want to dress and play with toy trucks and a mixture of boys who want to dress like girls and play with dolls. They represent a very broad gender spectrum.

Many are too young to know what category they fall in. Some will grow up to be transgender while some may actually grow up to be gender-conforming adults. These camps allow kids to be comfortable somewhere between male and female expectations instead of being on the fringes in school and in society. When will we be able to see that each individual in the billions of people on earth is a unique magnificent riddle and should be accepted as such?

Just last week we learned that a helicopter crew chief served three combat tours in Iraq—two as a Marine woman and one as an Army man. We learned from the Williams Institute that 15,500 transgenders are in the military.

NPR had the true story of an Englishman who retired and decided to go to a resort on the coast. He knew no one in the city and had never visited there. As he walked to his hotel some people called out, “Hi, John!” while others waved in greeting. He was surprised and puzzled. His name was not John.

He got on a bus to go to the beach. Fellow bus riders greeted him with “Hi, John!” As he approached a rear seat he saw John who was a mirror image of himself. They both remarked about their similarity and compared their backgrounds. They have become fast friends and have appeared together on English TV and radio. But they are still different enough to be part of that magnificent riddle.

Why Are Religions Always Trying to Assign People Places in Disparate Tribes and Groups?

There is no question that for thousands of years humans have used the Bible and religion to justify everything from slavery to sexist violence to racism.

American Christians, so to speak, have justified the Jim Crow South because blacks are born to serve whites and are inferior second-class citizens (Study the Christian Identity religion of the very dead Tim McVeigh). The Vatican and Protestant Bible thumpers are the principal constituents of the members of the ND House who voted against SB 2279.

The Vatican still preaches that homosexuality and associated acts are “intrinsically disordered” and “evil,” although millions of species include homosexuals, including the human, were created by God. Most Bible thumpers say every word written by ignorant old men is from God’s mouth although there have been over 70 major translations of the Bible over the last 400 years involving dozens of intricate major and minor languages.

Let’s face facts. The House voted to continue its position that LGBT people are second-class citizens because of recent advancements in gay marriage and what they have been taught about homosexuality.

Please, drop the “hate the sin, love the sinner” crap. Since when is discrimination a Christian value? When did Jesus Christ isolate gays from the rest of society? Never. Since when does Deuteronomy 23:1 make sense: “No one whose testicles are crushed or whose male organ is cut off shall enter the assembly of the Lord.”

There’s another Bible verse that raises questions: “The foreskin of a holy one may lie safeguarded in reliquaries made of gold and crystal and inlaid with gems—or it may have ascended into the heavens all by itself.”

I wonder if St. Peter took delivery in a brown paper bag...

The essential question: Can a North Dakota LGBT person be fired from his job or be evicted from rental housing? A case in Florida makes several points. A lesbian teacher at Aloma Methodist Early Childhood Center in Winter Park, Fla., was fired because the school director said she was “living in sin” with a girl friend.

Parents were informed she was fired for personal reasons—and that parents should not tell their children about the termination. There is a county law that prohibits discriminating against people for their sexual orientation, but religious institutions are exempt. However, the school receives $2,442 per student during the school year and $2,080 per student during summer sessions from state taxes. The state has no anti-discrimination law. This should make an interesting legal case.

Just Where Are the Lines Among Religious Rights, Business Rights and Human Rights?

Which one of the three has the biggest trump card? Human rights, of course.

If you operate a legal public business, can you deny service to a person who observes all laws of the state, including health and safety laws? Is religious freedom absolute? Some churches have really weird practices such as snake handling and child marriages. Freedom of speech is not absolute.

Try using foul expletives as you are yelling “Fire!” in a crowded theater. Every “freedom” has its limits.

There is a stubbornness in the good ol’ boys who run the Vatican and Protestant evangelicals as they teeter on cliffs concerning discrimination of gays and the absolute explosion of same sex-marriage laws. We still have some people who believe that gender variation is brought about by serious emotional problems or sexual abuse.

Others believe Satan enters the body and spirit. A few anti-gays believe people can be changed by therapy. They can’t. Corky and I have an intrinsically honorable gay son who is happily married to a wonderfully talented partner—and they both contribute a great deal to our society. They just celebrated their fifth anniversary and 10 years together in Iowa.

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