Pencil to Paper

The Daily Life of a Compulsive Writer

A letter to those who do not support gay marriage: July 28, 2012

I’m sure you’ve all heard about the Chik-fil-A controversy. I’ve been embroiled in more than my fair share of battles on Facebook over it, believe me. In the end, the excuses make me angrier than the intolerance. If you are going to strike out against a group of people, own up to it. Here’s my message to those who ‘hate the sin and love the sinner’.

Too often, I see people say they don’t support gay marriage but have no problem with gay people. “It’s not discrimination,” they argue. “I just believe marriage is sacred”, etc.
Fine. In your religion it’s sacred. However, marriage is also a legal institution with real world applications, and denying a couple marriage is going to have real world consequences.
It can lead to legal, financial, property, and custody tangles. It can lead to partners of decades not being able to hold their loved one’s hand when they’re hurt because they’re not registered as ‘family’. It can lead to one partner dying because they can’t be treated under their partner’s health insurance because they’re not married.
It can also lead to that awkward catch in the throat when you say “partner” instead of “husband/wife” because no one will let you earn that title. The pang when someone asks “Are you married?” and you have to say “No.” The belief that your relationship is less real, less valid, because you don’t have the right to wear a band of gold on your finger and sign a piece of paper because of what’s written in your chromosomes.
Let’s get this straight. These ‘harmless comments’ you make about homosexuality being wrong or gross or sickening or wicked…. they can see it. Friends, family, coworkers…. you don’t know who your words can hurt.

LGBT people all over have killed themselves because they feel completely alone in a culture you help create. Others are attacked, abused, or even killed by family or strangers because of who they love. Your hands may not have been on that bat, and your finger may not have been on that trigger, but you contributed all the same. It’s not far to go from ‘wrong’ and ‘wicked’ to ‘must be punished’. And then some people have the gall to say it’s the victim’s fault.

People keep justifying stuff to me with religion. We’ll see when He comes back, they say. They say it’s in the Bible, a ticket to heaven or hell, a sin, some stain on your soul that won’t come out.
I’m an atheist, ok? I don’t see god or sins or souls or heaven or hell. What I see is people hurting people when they don’t have to, and in my wacky godless morality, that’s wrong.

Your beliefs are your beliefs. Justify them as you will. I accept that you consider them valid and you do not anticipate their change. Just don’t tell me that you’re not hurting anyone. You’re hurting a lot of people. Your opinion sways politicians, and your vote may even come into play. When it does, you are affecting people’s lives, and you are not doing it for the better.

These views feed into a culture where gays are seen as sub-human and less valuable. It promotes an atmosphere where things like this can happen:

and people don’t care. It shows that we consider a group of people less than, not as good, below, not important. It shows that we find our own comfort and the knowledge that our religious convictions are being upheld more important than the dignity, livelihood, happiness, and in some cases well-being of our fellow human beings, who may not share those convictions. It shows that you in some way, whether you acknowledge it consciously or not, think you are better. Better. Armed with a book and a god who may or may not exist, you are ready to step on the rights and happiness of other human beings. So do so, and I hope you sleep well at night. But I will be there to speak out and say it’s not ok.


To Walk a Mile in Another’s Shoes… January 27, 2011

Filed under: Whatever — katblogger @ 3:57 PM
Tags: ,

“Today,” the girl announced, slapping down her papers and slipping into her desk, “we’re going to talk about homos.”

I winced. Others giggled. Sure, she was bisexual herself, but it was still an… unconventional way to start discussion.

“Let’s call them homosexuals,” our teacher advised mildly.

“K.” She flipped through her papers. “First question. Is being gay a choice?”

There was an awkward silence. Finally I offered, “I don’t know. Maybe we should… ask someone?”

Maybe it was just a way to get the discussion moving, but I did, in effect, bring up an important point. We can’t really know, unless that’s our situation. To invoke the old cliché – they stick around because they work, you know – you shouldn’t judge someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes. How can someone just say “Gays choose to be that way” or “It’s something they’re born to be” without being gay themselves? We can never know what’s going on in another person’s mind – heck, sometimes I don’t know what’s going on in mine.


I think as a culture, we’re too ready to make judgements that we really have no authority on. That girl is just full of herself. He’s a bully because he has a bad home life. She’s only religious because she’s afraid. He’s an atheist because he wants to be a rebel. I know I’ve made judgements when I shouldn’t have. But I think we should all take a step back and think – Do I really know this? Can I know it? Or am I just puffing myself up, giving myself a sense of stature by ‘knowing’ exactly what’s wrong with the world and everyone in it?

You may not like the answers, but it’s a question we all need to ask.


Oh Gosh, Fred Phelps Again… October 7, 2010

Filed under: In the News,Politics — katblogger @ 8:05 PM
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I know, I know… how many posts have I devoted to this cretin? Media coverage is what he wants. We should all ignore him, and maybe he’ll go away.

But oddly, I’m on the same side as him in this one. Well, not exactly on the same side… but in the general area.

If you’ve been living under a rock, with a handy internet connection that only leads to this site, let me explain. A father of a soldier killed in Iraq is suing the WBC. And although no one actually likes them, we have to support them in this case. Let’s go over the facts.

The first amendment guarantees citizens the right to free speech, and the right to protest peacefully. However annoying this protest was, it was peaceful. And it was speech. Therefore, it’s a double whammy from the Bill of Rights.

If the Supreme Court decides this isn’t allowed, what next? Will it be illegal to protest the Iraq War on 9/11, because it would offend the families of the dead? Would atheists not be allowed to speak up on Christmas? We can’t censor speech just because it’s annoying or rude. That’ll lead in all sorts of unpleasant directions.


Fred Phelps, This City Ain’t Big Enough For the Two of Us July 29, 2010

Filed under: In the News — katblogger @ 1:06 PM
Tags: ,

You’ve probably heard of Lady Gaga. I’d hope you’ve heard of Fred Phelps, but not everyone has heard about this charming piece of humanity. Feel free to google him, as explaining it all again would probably give me a coronary. He’s the only person that tempts me to swear every time I think of him. It’s a mental strain.

Basically, Phelps has organized a church (the majority of which being his family) that blames anything that goes wrong on homosexuals. Problems in the Middle East? Gays. Oil spill? Lesbians. God is punishing us.

Yeah. Right. Besides the fact that I don’t believe in god, if there was one, I doubt he/she/it would be saying it. Blaming another group of people for any problems you have is common, petty, hateful, and completely human. It’s something our race does well. Hitler started out blaming the Jews for things in his country. Hopefully Phelps won’t get that kind of power, but you can never underestimate the power of hate.

So why am I bringing this up? Well, I’m in the KC area this week, and the popular, if eccentric artist Lady Gaga is performing at the Sprint Center. For reasons unbeknownst to all but him, Fred Phelps has sent his minions to protest. And I’m going out there to protest him. We’ve got to show the world that humanity can be mobilized for things other than hatred.

I’m not asking anyone to come out. But next time you see someone blaming everything on someone else, or being sexist, or racist, or homophobic, remember. Don’t let them be Fred Phelps. Don’t let them be Hitler. Stop the cruelty and the hate and the madness, before it’s too late.