Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Not Changing For You

Not many people would guess this tattoo represents atheist solidarity, and standing up loudly and boldly for the cause. They think I'm quoting Pink and her song "Raise Your Glass". I'm happy when I'm able to explain. Pink is awesome, the song and what it stands for is too, but my tattoo means much more than my understanding of the lyrics - standing up for those who would be kept down by a society who would like to dictate to us how to be as individuals. It's just one part of why I got the tattoo.

I'm labelled an atheist because I don't have evidence for the existence of a god. It's an accurate description of what I've come to think based on years of research, and understanding of the history of our world. I've come to this conclusion because not believing in a god is rational and it makes sense. But it doesn't to speak to my character or what kind of person I am. 

My tattoo represents my allegiance with all those who feel keeping quiet about who they are is over. When I got that tattoo, I was done keeping my views to myself out of some sort of misplaced respect for a believers views. They proudly go on and on about their thoughts, so will I. The tattoo was just a way to remind me that I had the same rights to do what they do. 

They'll wear a cross and say God Bless. I wear my atheist t-shirts and tell them to have a nice day. Believers will Thank God! when good things happen, I'll point out why a medical intervention is most likely the cause. When bad things happen to our friends, believers will pray and I'll make sure to actually do something effective in easing my friend's sorrow. And when that tornado rips through a town and kills 180 people, I'll be sure to say nature is brutally indiscriminate rather than blame the LGBT community for the community's losses while others would say god is only punishing the sinful for their behaviors.

The point is, I'm going to stand up to the irrational, I will call out the ridiculous, and I will orate loudly for common sense and logic; whenever, and wherever it's necessary. And it's going to happen whether people like it or not. I have as much right to speak up about what makes sense as the believers have about what doesn't.

And I won't change. Especially now. Once I let myself out of the closet, going back in would never again be an option. It feels way too good to be honest to myself and others. It's freeing to fully feel that I am being myself in what I say and what I do. Staying here, staying put. Deal with it.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Pro-Potential Life, But Really Pro-Choice

When I was pregnant with my two children, I was in situations that weren't entirely out of control and I had a mindset of not approving of abortions for myself. For me, the life I helped to create was one I was obligated to bring to term. My first pregnancy, I was invested from a place of love, even though the situation wasn't the greatest. But I believed it was the natural consequence for which I, along with my partner, should take full responsibility for. The second time there was no question we had two fully engaged and loving parents, and we knew we could raise him in a somewhat secure financial situation. Abortion was never a consideration, nor would it ever have been an option as I was so happy to have received the news and knew I would provide the best I could for my children.

But I've always felt that the decision to have an abortion lies with the woman who is about to have one. It is her body, her pregnancy and something that impacts the course of her life, making this her personal choice. She must confront and weigh all the options when making that decision - does she terminate the potential life within her or decide to see it through to the end of her legal responsibility to that imminent child?

I knew a person who, during her lifetime, had three abortions which honestly left me with a negative view of this woman for many years. And it evoked so many questions, ones she never fully nor satisfactorily answered when asked. How does someone let that happen three times, and each time the only option is termination of the pregnancy? How does a grown woman who obviously has the ability to educate herself and use any number of available contraceptive options get pregnant? And when that contraception fails, how does this same woman make that choice to not carry to term the potential life that is a product of her supposedly loving, close relationship with her significant other? Why would she decide to end a potential human being just because she has that option?

Those are questions I have struggled with as a pro-choice person all my life because I also have a tendency to think that if you get pregnant - you carry within you a potential life and it is developing in you because of actions you participated in. We all know that every action has a consequence and that is the part I get hung up on. The phrase You've made your bed, now lie in it comes to mind. But...

Every free woman is guaranteed by Roe V. Wade to make those decisions for herself but on some level to know that many who are supposed to be role models of adulthood would choose to end a potential life, it leaves me feeling sad. How could they make that decision? It is a part of you and the person you chose to be intimate with and probably love! That guided my thinking for a long time.

But then I lived life for many more years and began to look at the situations that many of these women face. The women could be single or married, and are just not able to financially ensure these children would get their basic needs met. Maybe they also endured a poor quality of life and don't want to subject another possible human to those conditions. Many of us know that a life of poverty is not a good place to be, but then the question is, what about the women who can afford to raise a child and still get an abortion?

Their situations could be fraught with emotional and/or physical abuse, the individual who contributed his DNA is in a bad place - unable to be a good parent, abusive, neglectful. Many times, this alone is an agonizing emotional situation that steers a woman to this place of choosing an abortion. Couple that with financial instability, and I can understand now making that choice.

After having had two children myself, I now understand these women could be wrestling with the idea their potential child might end up in a situation being deprived of the emotional security they deserved. As innocents brought into this world without their permission, they require that, at the very least. Babies being deprived of the best offering of loving and nurturing at the start of entering their new life is a set-up for disastrous consequences as they try to maneuver through life. Where would they get the basic foundation of becoming the whole human beings they need to be to enjoy a future quality of life when what they encounter is uncertainty, angst, volatility and deprivation? We would set them on a path of not having a stable sense of themselves or a safe family they could turn to when their future let them down. I understand why women would choose abortion in this case.

I can imagine these scenarios repeat over and over in the heads of women faced with a pregnancy that is not openly welcomed, planned for or even wanted at the time... regardless of the fact they might otherwise embrace a potential life. When they are faced with the reality that their lives are less than optimum, they choose to protect a potential life from having a rather bad one. I can see that now.

Add to this debate rape victims, and you have an even wider pool of reasons to terminate pregnancies. The devastation a woman potentially feels learning she would have to endure more physical evidence of that act of violence perpetrated on her. It would look into her eyes every day. Imagine being reminded of the fear and shame you had to endure at the hands of a maniac? What kind of love are you able to give a child who deserves your love and support but all you can feel is disgust? I would rather her bring a wanted and already loved child into the world.

We would hear the words uttered Every life is precious! The potential life brought into the world pro-lifers are trying to protect will be exposed to more risk factors like poverty and child abuse, are more likely to be dependent on social services, and/or end up in jail. Their lives overall won't be as precious as they'd like you to think. How about they look at that and the cost to this society versus that little clump of cells called a potential life. In reality, this life they want to save was just conceived at the wrong time.

Could a potentially bleak financial and/or emotionally distraught situation turn around in their future? Absolutely, but at the time these pregnant women make these decisions, their current state of being is the only one they can base their decision on. They are assessing their current state of affairs with everything coming in at them from every direction and trying to make the best rational decision. It is an extremely difficult decision to make with all that has to be considered.

But at the end of the day, I hope they answer the question that is most important. What does the potential emerging child deserve if they didn't abort? It deserves a good life filled with love, respect, a quality of life and a loved one with a support system that will do what it can to enrich, enlighten and protect that child. In other words, an innocent who never asked to be born deserves what we all crave and deserve - that potential can translate into a meaningful outcome. That's really what it means to be Pro-Life.

I may be Pro-Potential Life, but I'm still Pro-Choice because it's really not my choice. I'm not the pregnant one. And I'm not the one who has to grieve or feel guilty if they do bring another life into this world whose existence is tainted by the bad this world has to offer.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Hey Indiana! Learn The Definition Of Discrimination

Justin Burlin Pinterest, pinned from wolfysmuse.tumblr.com

The first business of Indiana is publicly stating their beliefs coincide with Governor Mike Pence's beliefs as well. He being the one who recently signed into law the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a bill designed to actively promote the discrimination of members of the LGBT community.

And of course, this restaurant supports this bill because, you know... god. They wear their religion on their sleeves and the bible tells them so. It didn't take them long to rush to the local media to show exactly how much their religious beliefs mean to them. Me thinks they don't understand how this legitimized discrimination will hurt them in the long run.

Their bigotry and ignorance is glaringly obvious, just watch the video as she can't even understand how their actions and this new law function in reality. Given how she blatantly says she will refuse service based on their religious beliefs, one can see she doesn't understand what the word means.

But that's OK, I guess. When they have to put up the "Going Out Of Business Sale" sign, maybe then they'll understand.

This bill may have been pushed through with the intention and restatement of what they already have a right to and hold dear, but ultimately what it will accomplish is to give those who support this bill the legal right to discriminate against a class of people who make them feel icky. That's it. They'll for sure tell you it's only about upholding their religious beliefs, but marginalizing others because you don't agree with their lifestyle is discrimination. Period.

But we're just supposed to throw out the fact that words have meanings.

  1. 1.
    the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people or things, especially on the grounds of race, age, or sex.
    "victims of racial discrimination"
    synonyms:prejudicebiasbigotryintolerance, narrow-mindedness, unfairness,inequityfavoritism, one-sidedness, partisanship

Wake up people... one religion is not more important than the other and if you think it is, you don't understand the basic tenets of our constitution. You have a right to freely practice your religion, but you do not have a right to impose your religion on others. Denying service to someone because of your religious beliefs IS imposing your beliefs on them.

All this new law wants to accomplish is to legitimize discrimination. Propping up religious beliefs as the reason for it is just wrong. Sharia Law, American-style baby! This is what it looks like.

We've come so far with all the states who have legalized gay marriage. To see Indiana pass this law, and do so gleefully, means we are going backwards. Sadly, there are others now trying to follow suit.

It just makes me sick to my stomach that we as a nation can't seem to get on the right page of history.

***Interesting Facebook page of Memories Pizza and be sure to check out the website. The backlash has begun.

****UPDATE: It got ugly quicker than I expected - Memories Pizza is closed for now... maybe permanently.

*****UPDATE 4/2/15:  The GoFundMe page for the owners of Memories Pizza has received donations in excess of $200,000 in support of them sticking to their principles and upholding their faith.