The Pen Is Not Mightier Than the Sword If It Is Silenced Forever. (On Charlie Hebdo.)

Unless you live under a rock, or the only news you read yesterday was about how many models Leonardo di Caprio left a recent party with (the answer to that is 20…he left with 20 models), you heard about the coldblooded massacre at the Charlie Hebdo office in Paris yesterday.

For those even further under a rock, or who have been living on the planet Mars for the past five or so years, Charlie Hebdo is a satirical newspaper that routinely prints comics that are, for lack of a better term, brazen. Other terms that have been used to describe the paper have been: offensive, over the top, outspoken. While not exclusively religious satire, a fair amount of its sentiments are focused on religion. Most recently, Islam.

Back in 2011, the old headquarters of Charlie Hebdo were attacked by fire-bomb and website hack, presumably in response to their prior special edition of the paper which named the Prophet Mohammed as “editor-in-chief” of the paper, with a cover depicting Mohammed. If you know only one thing about Islam, it’s this: caricaturing their Holy Prophet is considered passe. Actually, it’s not even passe (that would imply it was at one time OK to do) – it has never been accepted, and in fact is considered to be of the utmost insult to the core tenants of the religion.

Muslim leaders and lay people from around the world had two responses to the fire-bombing: (a) we do take offense to the Charlie Hebdo caricatures, (b) we don’t condone violence in any form.

No religion really has been spared, though – several years back the Pope was drawn on the cover holding a condom, which is when I (a cradle Catholic who never goes to church out of frustration with the Catholic church) even started to question just what is going on with this paper.

When you get down to it, the artists and editors at Charlie Hebdo are – yes – expressing their political and religious sentiments, and moreover describing for the world where their own self-professed atheism lies. Beyond that, they claim to be calling out and setting the stage of shame for the extremest of extremists within religious groups.

Now that we’ve caught up on our history, we can get down to the aftermath of this terrible, ideologically-charged, coldblooded murder yesterday. For the pen is not mightier than the sword if it is silenced forever.

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In the immediate aftermath, candlelight vigils with people holding pens up in solidarity, as well as signs that said Je suis Charlie, were held in support of the 12 individuals tragically slain.

And this is when I started to balk at how people are handling this. On one hand, the murder was an act of terrorism, with no terrorist or religious group taking the credit. On the other hand, it is the terminal silencing of 12 individuals. 12 individuals who I would not say were “asking for it” – I would never say that; but it is undeniable that they were routinely fanning the flames with not only fans, but buckets of gasoline.

The statement Je suis Charlie – I am Charlie – implies that we all are those working at the headquarters of Charlie Hebdo. Fan the flames with buckets of gasoline. We all – artists, writers, cartoonists, editors – are just trying to get our message out there in the most effective way we know how. In a way that will appeal to people and make our point, and leave a lasting impression on the world.

I. Am. Charlie.

So will you be publishing this on your blog, or your magazine; your newspaper, or on the corner space you have of your community group newsletter, next week?

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Will you spread your message like this?

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When people criticize you, threaten you, entreat you, implore you, or even sit down with you  calmly – your most trusted advisors and best of friends – and have a conversation about whether or not you are effectively getting your political and religious ideas out there, would you still print this?

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Or when readership is dwindling and the funds are running dry, as was the case with Charlie Hebdo, would you just continue to print again and again these types of images, rather than doing a little bit of personal reflection and market evaluation, to see what will get you out there, rather than silenced?

And more importantly than that: do you really believe this is the best way to express your beliefs?

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The Charlie Hebdos of the world are not what you will ever get here in in the United States. The Wall Street Journal and the New Yorker will never run anything quite like the satires of Charlie Hebdo, for many reasons above all which includes wanting to get the message out there without losing readership.

Does that make the artists and cartoonists and editors at those other papers – not even just American, but all around the world – censored and less real in their statements, because they don’t run caricatures of the Pope giving Mohammed a blow job?

With dwindling circulation and constant pleas for fundraising coming from actual Hebdo headquarters, combined with criticism from virtually every aspect of society – even staunch atheist groups – you have to wonder just how effective Charlie Hebdo’s message was. I’m not talking about whether or not it was right, everyone is entitled to an opinion. I’m talking about how it was said.

Some have even gone as far as to call out the paper for its flagrant hypocrisy, as if the term “freedom of speech” can be used conveniently, even when describing a situation that was previously considered unacceptable – even for an opinion.

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Readership and funding and circulation and whether or not you would actually publish any of this stuff is not the point. Because you are not Charlie, just as I am not Charlie. And in reality, none of us can ever be Charlie Hebdo or the Wall Street Journal or Jim’s Neighborhood Circular if our pens are silenced, for whatever reason.

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More baffling is that people seem to have lost the meaning of “the pen is mightier than the sword.” Suddenly cartoons, again in solidarity, are being published like the one above: of the pen stopping the gun. As if the pen can literally stop violence – stop the madness, stomp out the crimes, and outlive the violent actions that tried to take it down.

That’s not what it means at all.

To say that the pen is mightier than the sword is to say that written words and other passive, expressive art forms are more effective in stating a message than the use of direct violence or malicious attacks. It doesn’t stop violence. It’s just a better way of making your point (presumably because people are left to continue making it, rather than all dead and gone).

I won’t argue that the Charlie Hebdo drawings are on par with coldblooded murder. But I would say that they are more than merely expressive works of art. I might go as far as to say they are malicious, and I would certainly say they are not passive.

So where does that leave us?

Well, it leaves us with 12 people dead. Gone. Their pens broken and silenced, forever.

It leaves us reminded that we live in a terrible world in which killers don’t even care about what they are fighting against, or who they are killing; just how many they can take off before getting caught. Coldblooded, psychotic murdering done just for the sake of murdering.

It has left us confused. Bewildered. Unsure of anything.

We are left with soundbites and snapshots to remember the victims. (“I would rather die on my feet than live on my knees” – a religious sentiment from the slain editor in chief, that has now gone viral and will be applied to every out-of-context situation imaginable.)

There are statistics we have still. Like the Charlie Hebdo circulation: roughly 50,000. Versus the other leading French satire paper, Le Canard Enchaîné: 500,000.

Versus the publicity of this coldblooded murder: millions.

And we are left with the reminder that sometimes it isn’t about what you say, but how you say it.

The pen is not mightier than the sword if it is silenced forever. It is a travesty that those 12 pens, and the countless other pens in recent and ancient history, have been silenced. May they rest in peace, and may their deaths be not in vain but rather in a reminder that expression of your beliefs is effective only if it is heard.

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I Hate Gays Because FREE SPEECH; or, Why We Should All Get Over The Duck Dynasty Fad Already

HA!

Okay, first: I don’t hate gays. I love the gays. I love the straights too. I am a straight, I have a bagillion gay and lesbian friends. An old friend took his own life a few years back because of a depression stemming over his family’s rejection of his homosexuality. If my children ever come home and tell me they are gay, not a damn thing will change. I’m not going to tap dance around this for fear of losing followers: I believe in equality for the homosexual community in every way, shape, and form. People are people, regardless of what they do in the bedroom.

If you have a problem with that, you can get the fuck off my blog page. Now.

I’m Catholic. That means I’m a Christian, by virtue of the fact that the Catholics worship and try to follow the teachings of … wait for it … Christ. Christ (the bearded guy who died for all our sins – sins I can only assume did in fact include ancient-style homophobic hatred) preached one thing above all others: love.

Love, motherfuckers. LOVE.

Not judge. Not hate. Not make moral judgments for which you have limited moral understanding. Not claim that you could actually – in a million years – know with absolute certainty God’s agenda.

Love. That’s it.

So are we clear on these things before I go on? Okay, great.

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So this whole Phil Robertson-Duck Dynasty thing has got me super riled up. It didn’t start out that way. At first I didn’t care, because seriously I do not understand why in the actual fuck the world is so enamored with those long-bearded hillbillies. Then as the day wore on, I saw more and more people on Facebook and Twitter and all of the other areas of the Internets (which I am now convinced should really be called the “Everyone’s An Expert Soap Box”) claiming that this guy’s right to free speech was being violated because he was suspended from the show for making homophobic comments. Phil Robertson for President Facebook pages were popping up. Keep Calm and Boycott A&E shirts were being sold.

Put down your shot guns and slow your fucking roll, hillbillies!

My friend Ava over at Journey of Jordanna East said it perfectly: “One of the biggest problems with America is that Americans don’t actually know how their own country works. It’s so sad.”

It is true that we have a freedom to speak what’s on our mind in this country. That is – essentially – the essence of the first amendment, though there are limitations. One of those limitations is that it truly is with regards to free speech on government matters. And it does not protect freedom of speech in areas like sedition or treason. I could continue, but this is a lot of technical mumbo-jumbo that’s deviating from the point. Did Phil Robertson have the right to make whatever homophobic, racial, or otherwise comments he wanted? Sure. Of course he did.

That right to say whatever he wanted, though, did not in any way, shape, or form protect him from the consequences of those hateful and hurtful words. That’s just not the way the constitution works.

People don’t seem to have gotten that, though. In fact, even when confronted with this logical discussion, and the basic facts of the constitution, people just seemed to be screaming louder and louder – FREE SPEECH FREE SPEECH. As if just saying that over and over again will refute any and all truth.

1504935_586891554731885_366015547_nAnd as the day wore on, it got worse. Suddenly the world of Twitter was discussing what everyone’s opinions about the first amendment and the definition of free speech is. I’m sorry, huh? Opinions? Interpretations? We aren’t talking about varying interpretations of the color of a person’s bowel movements here. We’re talking about an empirical and constitutionally upheld fact. Are you on the Supreme Court? Then all your fucking opinions are INVALID.

Here we have the reason why I think it’s about time we all get over the Duck Dynasty fad the nation has been enthralled in for years now: all this hillbilly TV has just further contributed to our collective stupidity. Instead of learning about things like the actual freedoms protected by the constitution, we slap ourselves down on the couch for six hours of television every, single night. We scream FREE SPEECH from behind the safety of our computers, all the while refusing to actually read about and understand what freedom of speech really is. And we do it not only behind the security of a computer screen, but under the sanctity of our religious views.

This is why so many people think religious people are ignorant anyway – because they choose ignorance over intelligence time and again, out of laziness and a general sense that saying something (FREE SPEECH!!!!!) over and over again will make it actually come true.

But it doesn’t make it true, no matter how many times you say it; and it doesn’t make Jesus love you, because Jesus does not love bigots. No matter how much the constitution guarantees their rights to proclaim that bigotry.

The thing that is so fascinating to me about the Phil Robertson/Duck Dynasty controversy is that people seem to be too chicken shit to actually say they want him to stay on the show because they hate the gays too. I mean some people are saying it, but more are just screaming that freedom of speech line and claiming Robertson had the right to speak “God’s plan.” Why all these smoke screens? Why not be real and say that you hate the gays too? That the thought of gay sex is icky to you and, therefore, Robertson can say and do whatever he wants?

Is it because of some fear that there may actually be consequences of you exercising your own free speech as well? But if you acknowledge that, then of course you’d have to accept A&E’s suspensions, which would then require you to acknowledge just how inherently wrong others in the world think your hate is.

I hate gays because FREE SPEECH? I love everyone just because.

I don’t really understand why The Gays want to get married anyway …

Marriage sucks. I mean it’s got its perks (I have yet to find many). But it’s hard. My grandmother – married for 63 years before my grandfather passed away, just this February – once said to me “you aren’t doing marriage right if it’s easy.” True ‘dat, Grandma. True ‘dat.

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When I got up this morning, I came to a bit of an epiphany. After all this gay marriage, equality talk – people turning their Facebook profile photos red, and rallying with the rainbow flags and such – I realized something rather striking: I don’t really understand why The Gays want to get married anyway.

I also don’t really get why The Straights are so opposed.

Think about it in terms of my marriage. Every day I get up in the morning and see that my husband has left for work. There was no kiss good-bye. There was no subtle waking me up to say “I love you” one more time, before dragging himself to work – like they do in the movies. My husband doesn’t have to be dragged to work; he has to be dragged home.

I get up and make breakfast. I make cereal for Pookies, a banana for me, and I see that in the sink my husband has piled dishes from his own breakfast. Rather than place them in there uniformly, or – dare I suggest – on the counter, he’s submersed them in a bowl of rancid, cold water that was soaking the stuck-on food from cooking dinner the night before. I spend a while getting the contents out of the puke water, with my bare hands, before losing my appetite.

I go to the bathroom and fall in the toilet. Still half asleep, I haven’t noticed the toilet seat was left up. I shower. While in the shower, I get soap in my eyes and the only close towel is my husband’s. I use it to rub my eyes, praying this isn’t the place he dried his balls with this morning. He’s been scratching them a lot lately. I clean tiny beard hairs off the sink and toothpaste off the counter.

Later in the day, I’m vacuuming. I get to our bedroom and on the floor are my husband’s clean socks. Rolled up. Sitting next to the dresser. Where his sock drawer is. I bend over to pick them up and put them away and a twinge hits my lower back, telling me it’s time to stop.

But I don’t. I have to make dinner, and to make the dinner I prepped yesterday, I have to get the BBQ going. On Sunday I asked my husband to clean the grill. He watched The Walking Dead for a few hours, then read about the Dodgers on his computer for a while instead. On Monday I asked him if he could please do it and he promised he would. On Tuesday at 11 o’clock in the evening, while getting ready for bed, he still had not done it.

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At 6:00 my husband hits quitting time. At 6:30 he’s still at work: solving problems, getting caught up, finishing things ahead of schedule, answering superfluous questions, and avoiding coming home. Dreading the minute I call to ask where the shit he is.

On his way home, his former carpool lady calls. Can they start the carpool again? It was so nice to have someone to talk to on that long, 50-mile drive, he thinks. “Sorry – my wife won’t allow it … you got me home late too many times in a row,” he says.

Poor Nick gets home. Around 8:30. He’s been gone since 7:30 in the morning. At this point I’m past being tipsy from wine o’clock and onto having a headache from it (I’m a lightweight). There will be no sexy time tonight. I bitch about my period coming soon. He prays to God it’s my period and not early symptoms of pregnancy.

Poor Nick is resigned to this. I’ve made chicken and rice. Again. For the fourth time this week. Poor Nick chokes it down with something of a smile. I complain that he never tells me my cooking is good, my hair is pretty, my ass isn’t fat. He goes to put on pajamas and sees I didn’t make the bed. I never make the bed, and this annoys him.

Around 11 we go to bed and play the game of “these blankets are mine,” “no these blankets are MINE” until it’s time to get up again in the morning.

Now you all may be thinking this is a pretty miserable situation, and you would be right to think so. There are of course the good times, and the reasons for being married, together forever. But there is all this other stuff that makes so many people say “marriage is the hardest thing you will ever do.”

So why in God’s name would The Gays want this?

If The Straights are so against The Gays; if they really think it’s that gay sex is wrong, or it says it’s wrong in the Bible or whatever, why not LET them have all this bliss? All the hairs on the counter, the numb complacency, the wine o’clock headaches, and the nightly fight for the covers? This misery, this daily difficulty – it would serve them right. Right?

On a serious note, I think I know the reason why The Gays want to get married, legally. Because this isn’t an issue of The Gays or The Straights, or what your religion says, or what mine says; but that of human rights. It isn’t really gay marriage anymore than it is straight marriage, just like they aren’t any more The Gays as we are The Straights. We are all human beings and our sexuality, just like our race, creed, religion, or underwear color preference has nothing to do with being treated as such.

As a Catholic, with many family and friends that are Catholic, I struggle with this and many other political issues. Fortunately, with my family and friends, we are able to disagree and still maintain our close ties; which is why I am fine with saying that I am in full support of anyone’s right to marry, regardless of their sexuality. It’s just that when I think about it, I remember that my religion is not the religion of everyone – so why should I have the right to tell people that may not believe the same as I do what they should do? And that there are a lot of things the Bible says to avoid that people don’t – like eating shellfish. Who still abstains from shrimp, which the Old Testament unambiguously states is a punishable sin? (Get it: times change). More than any of that, as a Catholic and a believer in my faith, I believe that Jesus preached love. That’s it. Love and equality. Maybe I’ll burn in hell for being in support of gay marriage; maybe one day I’ll lose someone important to me because of our opinions.

But I think that when push comes to shove, my belief in love above all will prevail. Isn’t that what Jesus taught anyway?

STFU Fridays: Dinner Next to A’holes

Kill me, faithful blog followers. Fucking kill me. Kill me by inserting some large stick up my asshole, weedling it up there as high as you can before turning and maneuvering it around, causing my internal organs to twist and bend until they get tied up; then take the stick out and leave me to wither away with my fucked up, knotted colon until excrement has no where to go but out my ears.

That would be better than the dinner next to the a’holes that I experienced today.

Let’s first pause to welcome all the newbies hanging around the ol’ B(itch)Log these days. My name is Heather. People call me a B(itch). Sometimes I swear a lot; sometimes I am really serious. This is supposed to be a mom blog, but I usually talk about anything that is either funny and/or annoying and/or about my miserable life and/or filled with stupidity (and possibly all of the above). In real life (if there is such a thing), I’m a homeschooling, stay at home mom and full time writer, who is really – and truly – the nicest person you will ever meet.

We have here a fun, little theme for Fridays. Shut the Fuck Up Fridays is what I like to call them. While I swear and act crass a lot, STFU Fridays go above and beyond anything you’ve ever experienced before in the “foul-mouthed bitch” department. So welcome to my blog, and if you don’t like it … well, shut the fuck up (Fridays).

So back to the a’holes.

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We went out to dinner with my dad tonight. He’s the guy shoveling food down his throat in the red sweatshirt. As we were walking in I noticed that we were being sat down next to those people sitting behind him. See them? There were actually five: a husband and wife, their nappy-headed bitch of a kid, and the husband’s parents. The nappy-headed bitch of a kid is in 5th grade. Her mom is a stay at home, like me. Her dad is a minister. The grandparents do I don’t know the fuck what, but they are the biggest dicks on the planet.

How do I know all of this? Because the husband (the dad, the minister) was my boss when I worked in pharmacy all those eons ago.

I won’t go into all of the injustices that went on when I worked under his reign. Well, not too much of it. I will say that he was the store manager and a pompous asshole from day one. I will further say that after four years of working tirelessly, sacrificing a lot for the job, and even letting myself be bullied into working for free a few times, he cut my hours to below 20, effectively causing me to lose my health insurance a whole year before I was planning on transferring to four year college (from community college) full time. I will say all of that. I will also describe for you faithful blog followers the time that the rancid bitch wife came in and told me that “one phone call, and your ass is grass if you don’t get my pills for me now.” Or the time that dear old dad back there screamed at me that I was being idiotic about his insurance problem, and that he should have me fired.

Nice people. I will never forget the rejoice we all felt when the douchecanoe of a store manager announced that he would be leaving to pursue his calling to the ministry.

So we went in and I noticed them, but I don’t believe they recognized me. I hope they didn’t. My hair is a different color now than when I worked under him; and it has been quite a few years. I also envision that they were so self-absorbed in their own arrogant and pompous goings-on that they hardly noticed anyone else in the entire restaurant.

There were quite a few times that I wanted to stand up, punch that nasty bitch in her crotch, and spit in the face of the ol’ “fuck you and your health insurance, Heather” manager.

“I Was Smarter Than You In 5th Grade”

One thing that guy did when he was the boss man was always put people down. He would make stupid jokes, that no one thought were funny; and they were always at the expense of other people. I remember one time in the break room he started cracking jokes about how annoying the sound of my voice was to him. Funny because at least my voice sounds appropriate to my gender, unlike him – who sounds like a five year old girl with a plugged nose and an occasional puberty-induced crackle. Fuck face.

Well the two of them (husband and wife) were showing off the bastard kid’s quote-unquote talents to the grandparents, but at every step they took it as an opportunity to take her down a notch. When talking about the science fair, dad said “but no one cares about plants…” (her project was about plant something or other). When she was talking about her math journal, the cunt with the red nails said “when I was in 5th grade, I was smarter than you though because I had no problem with fractions.”

Shut the fuck up, cunt.

“Catholics Worship Priests Instead of God”

Now apparently that little 5th grader is more of a stupid fuck than I thought, though, because at some point in their loud ass fucking conversation (so loud that all of the waitstaff and bus boys that came over to talk to us – as regulars – mentioned that they were sorry we got stuck by those overbearing dicks), the four adults had to explain to her what a Catholic is.

Here was how the grand tee-ton (the one who told me that I was an idiot and that he could have me fired since his son was the all-powerful minimum wage store manager) laid it out: “you see, Catholics worship their priests instead of God.” Nappy-headed 5th grader I previously felt sorry for went on to respond “that’s stupid. Catholics are stupid. Catholics are stupid and bad.”

Sadly, that poor girl is going to turn out to be just like her nasty parents, and even worse grandparents. Catholics worship priests about as much as I enjoy cooking. She too needed to shut the fuck up.

By the time the meal was over, I was about ready to go home and rip up my pharmacy technician’s license. I renew it every year just as a fall back; you know, in case my husband gets laid off or I decide to finally stop tolerating his shit and send him packing. Why the fuck would I want to go back to that, though? Not that it would be the same manager – he’s clearly moved on to greener, more shit-filled, pastures; but that was really just a microcosm of the shit I had to deal with working in the pharmacy. At this point I wouldn’t tolerate it. I would be fired in about a day because every other thing out of my mouth would be, simply stated: oh, just shut the fuck up!

When Does God Say to Go F*** Yourself?

Today I was talking with someone over a friend’s posting on Facebook about the Duggar family, who has made the news again after announcing the pregnancy of their twentieth child.  Without going into all of the details of the discussion (which I will blog on at a later time, the Duggar family that is), in the end the person with whom I was inevitably debating took the conversation a turn for the worse:  she cited God’s plan.

If you’re like me, you can’t really have an intelligent conversation if someone is going to talk about God’s plan, unless (of course) you do so in a purely academic light; most importantly, with background detail from the Bible and exegetical analysis of what you are claiming to be truth about God.  This person with whom I was debating, though, didn’t do any of that – she simply said “I have a hard time believing that God would create a world where we will run out of fresh, drinking water.”  When I questioned, though, that she believes God will not allow the planet to run out of fresh, drinking water, although will allow other horrific things to happen (such as cancer and natural disasters), she said those are from human negligence.  At this point, I gracefully bowed out of the conversation and bit my tongue for the sake of my own blood pressure and my own friend’s peace on Facebook (I don’t even know how she knew this person that was discussing it with me on the post).

In the end, anyone that will invoke God’s plan as an argument against something completely unrelated to God or religion is already questionable on the intelligence front.  But things really go awry when that person makes stupid and asinine comments, such as that cancer is a matter of human negligence.  To be clear, she said “it is because we have free will that people get cancer … negligence of their bodies.”  Looking at some of the young children I have known with cancer, or looking at some of the earliest cancer cases in world history predating even Christ or carcinogens; looking at cancer in the womb, or even looking at the appearance of cancer in animals that could in no way have caused such a disease to happen:  I have to simply ask where (exactly) the head of such a person is located that would say such a wholly retarded thing as “it is because we have free will.”

Here’s why at the end of days these pompous assholes will be told by God to go f*** themselves:  they make completely jerk-faced judgments without all of the information; they use God as an excuse for making their point; and, they try to imply that they are God-like by saying they know God’s agenda.

There are a lot of really horrible things in this world:  cancer, disease, famine, natural disasters, Republicans.  (I’m sorry … not necessarily the Republicans, I just thought it sounded funny.)  And it is true that amidst all of that crap, it is really easy to ask whether there is a God to begin with. In the end, from a purely logical standpoint, none of us can ever even know if some almighty guy in the sky exists, so why act like a dick and speak for this unknowable being?  I got news for all the Bible-thumping judgers out there (that are, incidentally, only reading the parts of the Bible they want to read):  if there is, in fact, a guy up there in the sky, acting like some pompous asshole about things you don’t even seem to understand is exactly why you’ll be told to go f*** yourself when you try to waltz your pompous ass into heaven.

Have a little humility, and (more over) a little compassion.  Don’t invoke God’s plan as an argument about something completely unrelated.  Like many of us “reformed Catholics,” I don’t know what is out there beyond this world we know on Earth:  God, some other being, or nothing.  But if there is one thing I do know, it’s that in all religions of the world (monotheistic, polytheistic, or atheistic), there is one unifying theme:  don’t judge others before judging yourself.  There is so much wrapped up in that idea.  Most importantly in my little debate over the Duggars and their +18 population growth ratio, is that before speaking on things you think you know, you should probably consider all the facts.  Judge others and God (or whatever is out there) may just judge you in the same vain.  The last thing you want to hear when you hit those pearly white gates, paradise full of virgins and palm trees, or whatever your heaven may be is to go fuck yourself.  That would really suck.

What it Really Means to be Gay

Let’s get uncharacteristically serious for a second, here…

It was really hot last week.  I mean hot – like 95 degrees with humidity and no air conditioning-hot.  Usually when that happens, I have to leave the front door open to prevent the entire family from dying of dehydration; this time it was a necessity for most of the day and night.  On the third day, a group of punk ass kids were walking by outside and I couldn’t help but overhear their conversation, which was riddled with the term “that’s GAY.”  This annoyed me, because I’m almost certain that they were not referring to things that were actually gay.  So I thought it would be good if we established for everyone what it really means to be gay, once and for all.

(This might seem a bit simplistic for our usual discussions, but it is clear that this conversation needs to be spelled out as simply as possible.)  There are a few possible definitions of the term “gay.”

#1 Gay:  happy, a state of overjoy.  This is the more archaic way of referring to someone that is happy.  I remember when I was about six I kept asking my mom what it meant to be “gay” and she said “happy” so for a few days I walked around saying “I am feeling very gay today!”  Most people giggled, but the older folks were glad I was so happy.  There is nothing wrong with saying you feel gay if you mean you are in a great mood.

#2 Gay:  homosexual, or identifying with a group of people who prefer the sexual orientation of the same sex as their own.  In the “gay community,” there are many different factions:  lesbians, bisexuals, homosexual males, transexuals, etc., etc.  Sometimes when you say “gay” in the “gay community” you are referring to the man-et-man faction; other times you will hear lesbians and bisexuals saying they too are gay.  There is nothing wrong with saying you are gay if you mean you prefer the sexual orientation of the same sex as your own.

There are a number of things that the term “gay” does not refer to:

The term “gay” does not mean something is bad or stupid or unfortunate.  This is a direct negation of the first definition, which was “happy, a state of overjoy.”  Would you be happy and in a state of overjoy if you were in the presence of something bad or stupid or unfortunate?  I think not.

The term “gay” does not mean something is morally wrong.  No matter what your moral standard, “gay” does not mean something that is morally wrong.  If you mean overjoyed, there is certainly nothing wrong with that feeling.  Further, there is nothing wrong with being “gay,” as in homosexual, from a moral perspective.  Let me elaborate:  if you use religion as your moral standard, you cannot say there is anything morally wrong with being gay – unless you are so literal as to your interpretation of the Bible that you abstain from the entire list of things that are considered wrong.  This is including (but not limited to) driving on Sundays and eating shellfish on any days.  Do you drive to church?  Then you are not a literalist and you cannot apply your loose Biblical standards so fickly.  Every person that I explain this to goes on, then, to say that being gay, as in homosexual, is morally wrong because it is unnatural for a man to have intercourse with another man.  To that, I ask:  why?  Why is it unnatural?  Is it natural for women to give hummers to their boyfriends?  Is it natural for men to watch shark porn?  A personal preference in the bedroom is no more unnatural than preferring to add salt instead of sugar to your apple pie.

And while we’re at it, there is no such thing as “gay marriage.”  There is marriage, there is gay (happy), and there is gay (homosexual) – and I’m very sure that there are gay (homosexual) people that are married and gay (happy).  But there is no more a thing as “gay marriage” as there is “straight marriage.”  There is marriage, which is a spiritual, as well as legal and financial, union between two people.  Not a single person or law has a right to mandate who those two people can be – whether they are of the same sex or not.

Generally, when people try to use the term “gay” in a pejorative way, they do so because they think that underhandedly establishes a precedent for saying that gay people are bad.  All this does is make them sound ignorant, though.  How stupid do those punk ass kids walking outside sound when they say something is “gay” when we have established that “gay” either means happy or homosexual, and that there is nothing wrong with either one of those things?  “Dude, that shirt is so gay.”  Why thank you!  I thought it was happy-looking, I’m glad to hear you are overjoyed at the sight of it!  “Mrs. Steiner is so gay!”  I’m sure Mr. Steiner is not a woman, but if he were – what is your point?  To the punk ass kids walking by, and anyone else that believes “gay” means anything other than what we have established, shut the hell up.  All you are doing is making yourself sound even stupider and ignorant than you already are.  One day this whole “gay thing” will go down in history books as another blunder on the part of ignorant America, like segregation and racism against African Americans was.  Do you want to be lumped in with those ignorant hillbillies that were too stupid to read a dictionary?