Troy N. Diggs

July 1998

I was watching a report on "20/20" recently about a church in Florida that has a large, almost cultish following. It's the type of church where people collapse when touched on the forehead, "filled" with the power of God. A little side story was about a school principal down there who would regularly give "religious counseling" to students in school and take students to the church. And, on top of that, the US Congress decided in June to vote against an amendment on school prayer. And, on top of that, because Disney World OK'd Gay Day in June, Pat Robertson says that Orlando is in for "tornadoes, hurricanes, and possibly a meteor." Uh-huh.

Now, religion is a topic I feel really strongly about, and I don't want to get off on a rant here (sorry, Dennis Miller), but here's my take on this thing known as religion.

1. You can't cram your religious beliefs down somebody's throat. That would have to be the #1 thing that, quite honestly, pisses me off about many religious people. It's like saying "I'm right, you're wrong, and you'd better learn to like it." My relationship with God is just that: MY relationship with God. Just because your vision of God is different than mine doesn't make yours any better, and for that matter, doesn't make mine any better either.

2. You can't judge. You can't take a person and say "Oh, you're bad, you're going to hell, let me save you." Maybe I'm not going to hell, you know? It's especially true for us in the gay community, because Bible beaters have a tendency to judge us on that alone. I'm sure there's many other things besides our homosexuality that we can get sent to hell for anyway. If my faith in God (or whoever you have faith in, and if you don't have faith in any entity, that's OK too) leads me to believe that I'm doing the right thing, then that's my belief, leave it alone. If I'm screwed, I'll find out later.

3. You can't put words into God's mouth. Drones... err... I mean, teens around here have started wearing these little bracelets with "WWJD?" on them, which stands for "What Would Jesus Do?". Now... if I were Jesus (and remember, this is a hypothetical situation here, so don't go on off saying that I'm a hypocrite), I would not be happy. I'd say something like, "What the hell are you putting words in my mouth for, huh? All you're doing is taking what you believe and running it through this little filter so that it looks like I'm saying it's OK. You really can't ask yourself that because, hello, you are not me, all right? So stop trying to make my decisions for me; I've got to see if I can get rid of that damned Bob Saget."

4. You can't allow religion in public schools. Public schools are public schools. If you want your kids to get a religious education, send them to religious school or teach them religious values at home. It's not the school's job to do that.

5. Christian musicians, don't try to go into mainstream popular music, and if you do, don't try to Christianize it. A good example is "Just Between You and Me" by DC Talk, which was a popular song last year. The song had a Christian message, which was kind of hidden in the lyrics. If you're going to sing a song about Jesus Christ, then sing a damned song about Jesus Christ. Don't hide it so it'll become popular. Oh, and while you're at it, let's learn a little tolerance, OK? If you're going to sing a song banishing all gays to hell, you might as well sing one banishing every other minority group to hell as well. If you don't mind, sing one sending Reggie White to hell too.

6. Women, for God's sake, you are not slaves. Therefore, don't let the Southern Baptist Convention tell you that you are. There's a big big difference to loyalty to your spouse/significant other than blind obedience, OK? You are not property, you are not second class citizens... so don't treat yourselves like that and don't let anybody else treat you like that. You are strong. You are invincible.

7. Those of you on the religious right, leave Disney alone, OK? Stop looking for subliminal messages in Disney movies, because even though they exist, they aren't meant to harm anyone, all right? They exist because it takes a long time to make a Disney movie and the animators and such get bored and they think it's a funny joke for those older than the age of 12 and with an attention span longer than 1 second. Treat it as such. On top of that, the only thing Disney's guilty of is openly embracing people of all diverse cultures and backgrounds, which is something that Disney's been doing all along. Cut the "pro-gay" shit; Disney is pro-EVERYBODY. And one last thing... I want to know who among the religious zealots out there started the rumor that Timon & Pumbaa were gay lovers. They're cartoon characters for God's sake, and besides, it's Simba who was getting all the action with Nala....

8. Finally, Christians, please don't try to overthrow the media. That includes TV, radio, newspapers, and the Internet. They all exist to allow a free exchange of ideas, so therefore, you have the right to express your opinions, sure. Just don't try to make your opinions the only ones anybody hears. And while we're at it... Pat Robertson, Jimmy Swaggart, and that damned Benny Hinn: you guys are not God. Therefore, stop acting like it.

So, there you have it. God, if you're reading this, I hope I haven't written a one-way ticket to Hell yet.

eMail me! TDiggs@aztec.astate.edu, or visit my page at http://www.geocities.com/~tdiggs. Peace and good cheer...

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