Saturday, May 5, 2012

Asshat of the Week – Sean Harris

Listening to: Swing Swing – All American Rejects
Mood: Pissed.

If you don’t associate the name with the story/are an ostrich, this asshat is the pastor that advised punishing your effeminate sons and forcing your daughters to look pretty.  Yes, it’s an oversimplification of the situation, but it’s just so you get the gist of it.

Watch out ladies and gentlemen, I am whipping out the soap box again. I don’t want to be a blogger who just rants about stupid stuff I don’t agree with all the time, but I feel like this is one of those situations where you can’t just sit quietly and not say anything.

Pastor Harris (and I say that only out of years of it being drilled into me that the only proper way to address a minister is Pastor, even if you can’t stand them), may I ask you a question? Do you have an effeminate son? Do you have a tomboy daughter? If your answer is no, please shut the hell up right now. Even the very best parents among us wish for a training manual. Talking about a child rearing situation you have no personal experience in makes you a douche at best. Absolutely no one should listen to you spout off such damaging practices about things you don’t know about. Seriously.

If your answer is yes, you have my sympathy. Not because you have a sissy as a son or a boyish daughter, but because they will doubtlessly end up with a pretty deep seated disgust and anger at you not accepting them as they are. If I may remind you of a few small things: 1. You are a parent first and foremost in your life. Your job is to love and cherish your children. There are no guarantees that you will end up with the same life views as your child. Don’t waste a beautiful, natural relationship with your child over who they are. Your job is to love the hell out of that child and raise him or her to the best of your ability. 2. There is absolutely nothing in the bible about shaming your child for being different. I’m not even arguing the religious views on homosexuality. God specifically said love one another – this goes 6 fold for your family. Buck up and be the man your family needs you to be; a Godly one.

What this comes down to folks is religion. Now I’m not knocking religion – it definitely has a role to play for people with spirituality and human needs. What I really strongly object to is the sense of righteous morality that makes people judge others based on their singular view of the world and feel better about themselves. I’m not going to go into homosexuality in this post beyond a touch, because this issue could apply to almost any of the other Christian sins – homosexuality just seems to be a hot issue right now.

I am so tired of listening to people spout off a view that they know is ill informed or will stir up controversy for the sake of argument. You don’t talk to an atheist about how God requires us to pray in a church once a week unless you want an argument. Look, we’re all entitled to our own views on religion and existentiality. Everyone arrives at their own truth sooner or later. It is egotistical in the extreme to figure that you have thought more or arrived at a more correct conclusion than anyone else. You simply cannot make anyone else subscribe to your brand of religion.  Nor does your brand make you more righteous, spiritual, or moral.

I understand that labeling and sorting things into convenient parameters helps humans to deal with the world. It’s a scary, confusing, chaotic place. This is not an excuse to dehumanize those who are different than us. We need to call out this fear and start seeing things for what they are and start remembering that in spite of it all, we are all humans. If you feel the need, use religion to meet your spiritual needs, but do not for one minute think this makes you different or special in relation to the rest of the human race. Having a belief system does not in any way excuse you from respecting humanity. Belief systems and religion are a way for you to conduct yourself, not impose arbitrary rules on those around you.

Children are people too. Being children they need a lot of guidance, but they also need love, respect and acceptance too. It is criminal in my mind to tell a child that they are wrong in whom they are and that they should put on an act to be something else. How can you raise a secure, happy child if you can’t accept that they are who they are? It may work to subvert a child’s natural self when they are young, but it will come out with a vengeance when they get a little bit older and rightfully start thinking for themselves. They will then resent the fact that they never got acceptance from the only people in the world they have a right to expect it from and will think that there is something inherently bad with themselves that they had to be something else. The world is a brutal, nasty place. Helping your child to accept who they are and be proud of it is one of the best things that you can do for your child in order for them to be confident enough to navigate life – no matter whom or what they are.

What are your thoughts? Is it acceptable to do this for a lesser degree for other issues? For example, we use behavior modification to stop tantrums. Where do think the line is between changing who they are and helping them function in a society?


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