Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Jesus Ain't Down With That Shit. (I Hope.)

This past weekend, I saw two movies: Revolutionary Road (meh) and Milk as part of my Oscar Tour 2009. Anyway, I really enjoyed Milk and saw it with a very fun, receptive, reactive crowd. (That's how I like my movie-going audiences. I don't want dead silence, I want gasping and cheering and advice tossed at the screen. As long as it's related to the film at hand, I'm cool with it. It's Jersey, you kind of have to be!) At one point during Milk, they introduce the odious Anita Bryant, showing some old footage of her singing a hymn. As soon as a woman singing about Jesus appeared on the screen, everyone in the theater groaned and shook their heads or threw their hands up. Even I did this.

Now maybe some people watching the movie were specifically reacting to Bryant but I wasn't. I had only the vaguest notion of who she is before watching Milk and certainly didn't know her on sight and I doubt many of my fellow moviegoers did either. (Which is as it should be. That horrible woman should fade into absolute obscurity, only to be trotted out for mocking purposes. But I digress.) I was reacting to the fact that a religious person had been put in front of me in a movie and my knee-jerk reaction was that this could only mean bad things for these characters. I was right, of course, Milk and his team spend most of the second half of the film batting policies supported by Bryant and bigots like her. Polices that would make it legal to discriminate against people based on their sexual orientation, to fire gay teachers, you know, awesome things like that. And the usual rhetoric about how gays are trying to "recruit" kids in the their sick gay gayness. (Seriously? HAHAHAHA. These people would be hilarious if they weren't so hateful.)

Anyway, it really bothered me that I had that reaction. I'm a person of a faith, a Christian. Specifically, I attend Quaker meetings. I go almost every Sunday and I help out with the First Day School. And it pisses me off that I usually have to qualify the admission of my religion with some kind of explanation that I'm not a judgmental freak. It doesn't make me pissed at the people to whom I'm explaining it, the ones who automatically start to back away, but at the people who act like total dicks in the service of God. Why have we let them* hijack religion? And by "we," I mean, reasonable people of faith. The people who don't give a shit who you have a sex with or marry as long as everyone is over 18 and consenting. The people who don't care what women do with their bodies, whether it's birth control, abortion or sex. The people who aren't terrified of science or evolution. The people who don't give a shit if you're an atheist or some other religion. Basically, people who aren't horrified by "otherness" and hide behind Jesus in terror. It really makes me angry that people with what I feel are VERY extreme views are the ones who try to speak for Christians, who perpetuate bigotry and censorship and misogyny in the name of God. Hey, conservative Christians? YOU DO NOT SPEAK FOR ME. AND YOU NEVER WILL. To semi-quote John Bender from The Breakfast Club, you don't even know my language!

I don't really have a solution to this. I guess I can just continue being a non-asshole person of faith. Well. I'm still kind of an asshole. Just not about being a Christian. Well. Not in this very specific way. Heh.

*And I don't mean people that merely hold more conservative views that I do. I know I'm pretty goddamn liberal. Many of my friends and family members are more conservative than I am and that's not a bad thing. I don't expect everyone to be like me. That would be...boring. I'm talking about scary people like Bryant (though apparently she's mellowed with age or something) and Fred Phelps (Remember him? Gay people caused Hurricane Katrina, didn't you know?) and those like them. The ones who are in the public eye and say detestable things and act like they have God's stamp of approval.


Volstaag said...

Your a Quaker? Could you bring me a barrel of oatmeal the next time you come to town?

"Lady" Bea said...

No. No oatmeal for you! Buy your own!

Auntie Mame said...

Here's my dilemma: I love oatmeal, but I can't stand oatmeal cookies. They annoy me. What's up with that?

"Lady" Bea said...

You are freakish and weird. Is it perhaps that oatmeal cookies usually involve raisins and not chocolate? I make oatmeal raisinet bars, would you try those?