Religion and Hypocrisy. In other words, I may be mis-read.

by Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] on October 7, 2010

in Friends,That's So Gay

I did not grow up in a religious household. We did the standard Christian-esque Christmas and Easter celebrations, and when we happened to be at my grandparent’s house on a Sunday, we went to their church.

I did grow up in a very Bible Belt-ish town where pretty much every kid I knew went to church. There wasn’t a line drawn between church and school, but not knowing any better, I didn’t know there was a problem with the cross-over.

I never wanted to go to church, mainly because I liked sleeping in on Sundays. It wasn’t ever something I thought about doing other than getting to see more of my friends. I was kind of jealous at the retreats my friends went on in high school, but I wasn’t jealous of all the extra Bible learning they had to do.

For the last few years, I debated finding a church to belong to, but not knowing exactly what my beliefs and thoughts are about my religion, it came down to a questionnaire on the internet to figure out what religion I belong to.

It still wasn’t really clear on what I am or to what religion I belong.

I just kind of believe what I believe, and my beliefs change over time.

When my high school invited an Evangelical speaker to come talk to the school shortly after a friend committed suicide, he made me feel bad about the choices I had already made in my young life. He was so powerful in his speech that I started believing that I was a bad person for not living by the word of the Bible. He was so convincing in what he said that I started hating my own thoughts and feelings.

This was one man in one speech at one vulnerable point in my life.

I can only imagine what a lifetime of listening to powerful, convincing, persuasive men and women can make people think about themselves and their own beliefs.

Actually, it’s unimaginable to me.

I don’t know what it’s like to blindly believe what I’m told is The Truth in an organized religion.

I don’t know what it’s like to do what I’m told to do in the name of my chosen deity.

I don’t know what it feels like when I believe something that is the opposite of what I’m told is The Truth by my religious leader.

To me, that is unimaginable and incredibly heart-breaking.

It’s moments like now when I am comfortable with my personal decision to not belong to a specific religion or place of worship. I have my own set of beliefs that are based on my own knowledge of spirituality and religion. I do not follow the outline of The Truth as put forth by one person or group of leaders.

It’s moments when I receive emails and messages from friends who are forced to hide their own beliefs about homosexuality and gay marriage because they fear the backlash from the religion to which they subscribe, that I’m thankful for my decisions.

My religious, church-going friends are being persecuted for making public their own personal beliefs that Gay is OK.

This is when I find it astonishing that I have not received a single negative comment, email, or message about what I believe, but my friends who DO belong to a church and religion are being judged and harassed.

I am sad for them. I am sad for my friends who cannot speak their own Truth for fear of the members of their own chosen religion and their families.

I am sad for the hypocrisy they are experiencing.

So, I, with my churchless and religionless soapbox, will proudly speak for them.

Gay is OK. I believe, that no matter what religious belief you subscribe to holding, Gay is really OK.

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{ 42 comments… read them below or add one }

1 angi October 7, 2010 at 3:16 pm

AMEN!!! HALELUJAH! Pass the mashed potatoes!

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2 Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] October 7, 2010 at 7:33 pm

mmmmm mashed potatoes….

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3 Erin October 7, 2010 at 3:18 pm

I am Presbyterian, and generally we are here to love and support one another. While Presbyterians would prefer that serious relationships eventually involve procreation, we do not discriminate if that is not the way you want to live. Reading it as I have written, we seem a little hippy-ish, but really, we want everyone to enjoy their time on Earth as a child of God. While I no longer attend church regularly, I am thankful for being raised in this belief and with parents who would allow me to experience other beliefs. I have attended church in several other denominations and for “guilt” or discriminatory practices, I stay in the Presbyterian system when I attend service.
An Awesome post on Erin´s blog … My Thoughts on The Hunger Diaries

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4 Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] October 7, 2010 at 7:34 pm

I’m not against organized religion, I just know it’s not right for me.

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5 Tara R. October 7, 2010 at 4:35 pm

It is this kind of hypocrisy that led me away from organized religion. The very tenet of ‘love thy neighbor’ and ‘do unto others’ really meant only if they look, think, and love like I do. That’s wrong and it’s not how I believe Christ would want me to live my life.

Gay is OK.
An Awesome post on Tara R.´s blog … Renaissance skies

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6 Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] October 7, 2010 at 7:43 pm

i’m sure not all churches are that way, but i’m not yet in a place to find one.

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7 Andrea October 7, 2010 at 5:50 pm

“I can only imagine what a lifetime of listening to powerful, convincing, persuasive men and women can make people think about themselves and their own beliefs.”

I was born into the church and had to go no if’s and’s or but’s about it. I had my son at 18 but lived at home until I was 25. My mom’s rule: You live in my house you go to church. I knew my son was “different” from the time he turned two. Up until that time I was taught and believed that being gay was a choice. When he came out at 13 I had to hide it from my family. And that killed me. I didn’t know how they would react and I was afraid of losing my family. It was confusing to me why my God would bless me with this beautiful boy who was definitely born gay just to condemn him to hell. I believed my son was going to hell. I knew my son would never be baptized and turn his life over to the Lord. My son was going to hell. I was so tormented by this thought that I remember one night it kept me awake. I cried and sobbed for hours as I laid on the bathroom floor in the middle of the night damning God, cursing him, almost getting physically sick. That’s when I just stopped. I stopped believing it. There’s no way my God would create this child, give him a life he didn’t choose just to send him straight to hell. No way. I was done. I still believe in God and I pray everyday. And MY God loves my gay son. And so does my family. They got over it. If THEY can get over it anyone can.

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8 Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] October 7, 2010 at 7:44 pm

thank you SO MUCH for commenting (finally) and telling your story. you really will help someone who needs it.

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9 Stacey October 7, 2010 at 6:12 pm

For most of my childhood my father was an Assembly of God minister. As a direct result of growing up going to church a minimum of 3 times a week and living in a fish bowl as a pastor’s kid, I do not believe in organized religion. I do not believe in a system in which people go to church on Sundays and ask forgiveness for all the shit they do the rest of the week. It’s as if they think that sitting in a church once a week absolves them of their evil, backstabbing conniving ways. I’ve seen the dirty underbelly of the church. It ain’t pretty.

I also cannot be on board with any religion that preaches that we are not to judge others, yet condemns anyone who believes differently than they do to hell. Wait, I thought we weren’t supposed to judge. You can’t have it both ways. I won’t subscribe to the do-as-i-say-not-as-i-do mentality. The hypocrisy of organized religion is astounding. I choose to not be a part of it.

That doesn’t mean that I don’t believe in anything. I just choose to believe in a higher power that doesn’t judge and doesn’t condemn people just for being different. I live by the Golden Rule (most of the time) and teach my son to do so as well.

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10 Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] October 7, 2010 at 7:44 pm

judge not, lest ye be judged.

or something.

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11 Mary October 7, 2010 at 7:46 pm

My son is gay. He told us when he was 14. He probably kept this to himself for a couple of years because I had become a Born-Again Christian and he didn’t know how I would react. Well, at first I told him not to rush these things, because his hormones might not have settled down yet. (Yes, I said that.) I knew what the Bible said and my Bible Study group told me that they would pray for him. One day, it came to me that I would have to choose between my son and My church. Any faith that requires a mother to reject her son is just plain wrong. I can’t do that.
In talking with my son, I realized that he did not choose to be gay. Then, how can he be sinning if he did not make a choice to sin? God made him gay.
Nowadays, I don’t tell other people what to believe. I don’t know what kind of God I believe in, or whether I should just believe in a Universal Force. I guess I’ll find out when I reach the Pearly Gates (if they really have that).

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12 Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] October 7, 2010 at 7:49 pm

i thank you for choosing your son.

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13 Khaoulla March 7, 2014 at 6:39 pm

Is Faith a force? Or words the container of the force by which God/believer can cretae their own world? How is that Mark 11:23-24 speaks about the God-kind-of-faith? Does faith become the believer’s object of faith? Or does God become the object of one’s faith? If in fact faith becomes the believer’s object of faith than it id a false faith. If in fact God had to have faith who is He trusting? If in fact God had to have faith than He is mere man; not God. How do you interpret Hebrews 11:1, 2? Is faith a living channel of trust in the God of the Bible? Or is faith a metaphysical faith by which it becomes a force, as to release into the earth realm by the mere words of believers? Is Man God? Or Is God Man? Is God Servant? A magical bellhop at the beck and call of the Faith believer? I appreciate for your prompt response.

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14 Martina October 7, 2010 at 8:43 pm

Hi … stopping by from BandBackTogether.

Gay should be nothing other than OK.

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15 Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] October 8, 2010 at 12:14 pm

xactly.

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16 Alex@LateEnough October 7, 2010 at 11:48 pm

Although I haven’t attended church since June (a longer story), we had been a part of an open and loving church through the United Church of Christ (UCC) since 2004. We have many gay parishioners and totally believe that God created and loves LBGT people just the same as anyone else.

Although I certainly don’t believe organized religion is for everyone, I just want people to know that there are churches and other places of worship which truly teach God’s love and strongly support gay rights.

It’s just that the intolerant ones seem louder.

Thanks for your continued writing on the subject Angie.
An Awesome post on Alex@LateEnough´s blog … Boobs And Booze My Guerilla Sticker Campaign Goes Wild

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17 Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] October 8, 2010 at 12:15 pm

oh yeah, for sure. I know that there are tons of organized religions that support gay rights. but really, right now, it’s not for me.

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18 Ali October 8, 2010 at 7:45 am

I have been bountifully blessed by two parents that forced church upon us when we were young. That gift of faith has grown into a shoulder I lean into on a daily basis what with the whole having cancer twice before 35 and having a sick child. That faith in itself is invaluable but I doubt it would help as much were I not part of an amazing church family that has been so supportive and loving. This church family is the one I wish all the “I don’t do organized religion” folks could be a part of. It’s unique. It’s open. It’s loving and non-judgmental and we even have an openly gay man leading Sunday school and bible studies. I’m Methodist- we believe in “hate the sin, love the sinner”. And despite being raised in a church, I not only believe Gay is Ok- I believe it’s rampant throughout the world God created. Haters need to watch a little Nat Geo! I don’t understand why there are still ignorant folk who believe it’s a choice. Yah- like someone would CHOOSE that!

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19 Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] October 8, 2010 at 12:15 pm

heck yeah, for Nat Geo!

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20 Mommy Boots October 8, 2010 at 7:52 am

You and I are one in the same when it comes to religion. My parents didn’t raise me with any, but religion was in the wings of my childhood. My aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents were all Lutheran and attended Lutheran church. I actually went to a Lutheran school for three years. However, as I grew up I saw the holes in Christianity and was never able to embrace it. I wasn’t ever able to embrace any religion. I went to a Unitarian Universalist church here in town, and even that was too “organized” for me. If I WERE to go to a church, that would be the one. I’m just not into the whole organized religion thing.

And that’s tough; I live in the bible belt where the question isn’t “DO you go to church?” it’s automatically, “What church do you go to?”
An Awesome post on Mommy Boots´s blog … Send Out the Search Party

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21 Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] October 8, 2010 at 12:16 pm

fun fact: my long-time, church-going aunt “liked” this post for her facebook page.

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22 Lisa October 8, 2010 at 8:10 am

I took one of those internet religion quizzes too. I was surprised to find that I should be a Quaker or Reformed Jew. Yeah, those were my top two choices. I don’t attend a church now, but my father took me to Baptist churches when I was younger (we lived in the South, so Southern Baptist, I guess). The churches we went to were a little intense and scary to me. I’ve also attended Catholic, Protestant and Episcopalian churches. Nothing seemed to fit. Now, I’ve finally figured out that I don’t need a church to be spiritual. I believe what I believe and no one else needs to worry about it. I have to say, the Episcopal church that I went to was liberal, and had no problem with gay church members. Everyone was welcome, and that was the nicest church I’ve ever been to. They also welcomed women in the clergy (imagine that!!).

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23 Kaye October 8, 2010 at 12:01 pm

I know this totally isn’t the point of your comment, but there are several types of Baptist churches in the south. “Southern Baptist” is just one of those, so what you went to may or may not have had a Southern Baptist affiliation.
An Awesome post on Kaye´s blog … Friday Faves – Missy the Cat

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24 Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] October 8, 2010 at 12:17 pm

i was a Quaker in my quiz too! maybe it’s a sign.

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25 Wombat Central October 8, 2010 at 10:24 am

First, bravo to you in your support of those who are fighting such an uphill (and ridiculous) battle. I think Gay is OK. Also, I know church, religion, and spirituality are all a very personal pursuit. I feel everyone should be allowed to worship (or not) as he or she pleases.

That said, I’m presently church shopping after having taken a extended break. I didn’t like something that went down at my last church, and then I had kids and, well, life happened. I’m looking for a church that is accepting of female leadership and openly welcomes gays into their congregation. And has a great kids’ program. These places do exist. We just have to find the one that’s right for us.
An Awesome post on Wombat Central´s blog … My Life List

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26 Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] October 8, 2010 at 12:18 pm

thank you :)

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27 Hannah @ Peggy Ann Design October 8, 2010 at 12:04 pm

Thank you for posting this Angie. You make me feel normal. I was raised in a very organized religious family and I was so very stupid and naive in high school. I was all about going to church – to see my friends. These days, I do believe in a higher power – but I don’t think that my belief system is the only one that’s right. Now I don’t even know what I believe half the time. I guess you would call me a Christian, but I don’t think that my Jewish, Muslim, or buddhist friends are going to hell. The same with my gay friends, my friends that smoke pot, my friends that drink, etc. etc. etc. Which isn’t a very popular sentiment down here in the bible belt.
I’m rambling now, but I just really wanted to thank you saying everything i couldn’t.

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28 Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] October 8, 2010 at 12:20 pm

thank YOU for spreading the word.

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29 Kaye October 8, 2010 at 12:15 pm

I grew up in the South in a Southern Baptist church. Went to one until 3-1/2 years ago when we started attending what most people refer to as a non-denominational church. That’s just my backstory. Here’s my comment:

The problem with organized religion is that it is facilitated by people. People who make mistakes. People who totally screw up. People who can be outright wrong. Does that make organized religion wrong? Absolutely not. You have to be a part of a group that understands that we all mess up. We all have faults. Nobody is perfect. Not only do the leaders of the church have to know that, but the members do as well. They have to know that even their leaders are human and will screw up…some of them big time.

The point is that we are all supposed to love each other. We don’t all have to agree. We don’t all have to hold hands and smile all of the time. But we should love. We should love people through their heartaches. We should love people through their successes. We should love people through their mistakes. We should love. Period.

And the subject matter? I grew up being taught that being gay is wrong. I thought that for a long time. I currently have no idea what I believe about it. I don’t think people choose it but I don’t know that they are destined for it. The human condition (emotional, physical, psychological) is complex and we don’t fully understand where anyone’s personality, emotions, or tendancies come from. I have many gay friends and I love them dearly. They know that I don’t personally encourage their lifestyle, but I also don’t condemn it either. It’s really hard for me to know their feelings, motivations, desires, etc because I have never felt the ways they do. Were they born that way? I don’t know. Maybe. I can’t say. Did they choose that path? If so, I don’t think it was a conscious decision, but more of tendancies that felt more comfortable with that reality than with the alternative. I could be wrong about that too though.

The point is love. Period. I am called to love everyone. I am called to love those who are homosexual. I am also called to love those who bash homosexuals. No matter how much I agree or disagree with either of them, I am called to love them.
An Awesome post on Kaye´s blog … Friday Faves – Missy the Cat

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30 Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] October 8, 2010 at 12:20 pm

there’s never a call to bully anyone, even if we believe that their beliefs are wrong.

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31 Kaye October 8, 2010 at 12:47 pm

I totally agree.

Let me clarify though…when I speak of “loving” I don’t mean condoning or passively allowing hatred. I don’t mean ignoring the wrong choices they make. I mean loving them. If I show them how to love others who are different from them (rather than tell them), they are more likely to learn how its done.
An Awesome post on Kaye´s blog … Friday Faves – Missy the Cat

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32 ArykaNotErika October 8, 2010 at 12:42 pm

Ya know, maybe it is because I have a healthy dose of The Gay that some days I really just don’t get it. Now, granted, I had a pretty uneventful coming out, live in a very gay city and am surrounded by All Things Gay in my work life. But I dont get it. I dont understand why who I love is an issue. I don’t understand the phrase ” The Gay Agenda”. Our agenda is very much like anyone else’s. Live, love, laugh, survive, eat cupcakes. wash rinse repeat. And while I’m not really religious, I know enough about Christianity that I’m pretty sure God is down with loving, against hating, plain and simple. an what could you hate about The Gay so much, what could you be so scared of, that you would make someones life so miserable. Don’t like Gay ? Dont be Gay. Scared of Gay ? Stay away from Gay. I dont like the Gilmore Girls. So I don’t watch it. Im scared of spiders. So I call in Chell when I see one. Seriously. I dont get it.

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33 Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] October 8, 2010 at 12:45 pm

ok, so the lesson here is…

hooray for cupcakes! and BOOOO for spiders!

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34 Kaye October 8, 2010 at 12:58 pm

Maybe organized religion wouldn’t look so bad to so many people if it looked like this more often:

http://www.timschraeder.com/2010/06/30/a-different-kind-of-demonstration-at-gay-pride/
An Awesome post on Kaye´s blog … Friday Faves – Missy the Cat

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35 hello haha narf October 8, 2010 at 1:30 pm

one of my favorite church’s is a unitarian universalist church. they are so welcoming and loving. everything goes. members range from basic christian beliefs to druids to buddhists to (believe it or not) atheists and everything in between. their focus is on community and love…a truly nurturing group. here in pittsburgh there is one specific uu church (http://www.alleghenyuu.org/) that i am familiar with and they have a gay minister who recently adopted a son with his partner. so yeah, church can be a place to gather and be thankful, to celebrate life.

for the record, my mom was a catholic nun for 12 years before deciding she was called for other things in her life (lucky me that she got out, got married and had me!). i’ll always remember her telling me that god is love and sometimes people mistake words written in a book a long, long time ago. she made it very clear that i should not blindly follow anyone’s instructions if they didn’t make sense because god makes sense if we trust him. i just can’t see god hating someone he made.

so yeah…NO HATE.
An Awesome post on hello haha narf´s blog … 39 Today

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36 hello haha narf October 8, 2010 at 1:34 pm

forgot to mention that the allegheny uu church marched in this year’s gay pride parade and i thought that was fantastic. so wonderful to see a church at pride. gave me chills.

and yes, i know that i have an extra apostrophe in my first comment. dammit.
An Awesome post on hello haha narf´s blog … 39 Today

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37 Mommy on the Spot October 8, 2010 at 4:14 pm

I totally get this and agree with you.

I don’t understand how some religions say that you should be accepting of everyone and love no matter what . . . everyone except people who are different. I think it’s ridiculous.

And anyone who says I am bad and need to ask for forgivness just because I was born a human being, I am totally not on board with that.

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38 The Sweetest October 8, 2010 at 5:47 pm

I was always jealous of the families who were part of the C & E club because while they were sleeping in I was being dragged to church, lest I be grounded or find myself falling into the Pit of Lions. I am like those you mention and have to keep quiet about my true beliefs so that I don’t get chastised by my evangelical extended family. Never do I send them any of MY political messages, and yet I receive countless emails pushing the right-wing-gays-are-killing-christmas agenda. I feel like I am in a tough spot. Between standing up for and speaking about what I believe, and avoiding conflict with my family. Sigh.
An Awesome post on The Sweetest´s blog … And They Will Know Us By the Length Of Our Toes

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39 Harriet October 9, 2010 at 3:23 pm

I hold your views in high regard because of your previous blog posts and I agree with what you say here too. Well done on a really good and well thought out blog post.
An Awesome post on Harriet´s blog … BlackBerry Bold 9700 White

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40 Zoeyjane October 10, 2010 at 5:27 pm

There’s the thing that decided for me at a young age that organized religion wasn’t for me: God is Love (unless you’re [in some cases, I don't want to generalize too much by saying 'most' or suggesting all] gay, too intelligent or left-wing, an alcoholic/addict/thief/adulterer who hasn’t atoned; or if you belong to another religion, belong to a specific race, engage in premarital sex/oral sex/sodomy/masturbation, drink coffee/get tattoos or piercings/accept blood transfusions, don’t donate, don’t pay a tithe, don’t volunteer, school your children publicly, choose not to have children, take birth control, have an abortion, kill someone, don’t go to war, engage in self-destructive behaviours, don’t circumcise, don’t pray in a certain direction, eat beef or fowl on specific days, don’t have sex with your leader, are the victim of molestation or rape at the hands of a leader, disagree with something your parents say or do, don’t ostracize others for not being exactly like you. Amongst other things.

Seriously, who does that leave?
An Awesome post on Zoeyjane´s blog … Day 11 – Haunting

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41 Nona October 10, 2010 at 7:25 pm

The most stable, loving, longest-lasting union in my family is my gay cousin and his partner. The most loving, welcoming, warmest church service I ever attended was with a gay-friendly congregation in Nashville.

Gay is indeed OK. Thanks for writing this. We need to make sure more young people know that gay is OK.

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42 toywithme October 12, 2010 at 2:37 pm

I have always been a firm believer in “You are a product of your environment.” In other words, children learn by watching and imitating.

You are the sole caregivers of your children, you teach them right from wrong, you decide when and how discipline should be handled. YOU are their role model. Lead by example.

There are however some cases as pointed out by Loralee and Ali that are the exception to the rule, but for the most part it is up to parents to teach their children acceptance of those who are different from themselves.

Also, I fully support the LGBT community. Keep up the awesome work of getting the word out!
An Awesome post on toywithme´s blog … The Story Of A Failed Orgy

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