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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Chick-Fil-A and Divine Retribution

In case you missed it, since it was buried beneath Olympic headlines, the 60-year old "chief spokesman" for Chick-fil-A, Don Perry (VP of public relations), died early yesterday from a presumed heart attack. My condolences go out to Mrs. Perry, not only for her loss, but for the life in store for her should she too be a firm believer in the passage of Leviticus that her husband had to defend, thanks to company president, Dan Cathy.

If you're living under a rock and so haven't heard about the controversy caused by Chick-fil-A company president, Dan Cathy, making remarks on homosexuality that echo those of insane, inbred Westboro Baptist Church in their protests against military funerals., Cathy said, "I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, 'We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage."

Cathy's remarks raise so many questions about who can and how we're supposed to interpret the Bible.

The first and most obvious question is, "How does he (Cathy) know what God thinks?"

When Westboro Baptist Church says the same thing in their protests at military funerals, pretty much all sane people oppose their stance. When Cathy states the same anti-American position, some hypocrites rush to support him. Are they saying God thinks it's okay to be a bigot, just not at a funeral? Is it solely military funerals one shouldn't be a bigot at, or all funerals?

Cathy should actually read more of the passages around the one he cherry picks to support his position. If he truly embraces ALL of the words of the Bible, he, and Mrs. Perry, are in for some rough times. But, since he seems unwilling to actually read the WHOLE Bible, I'll help him out, courtesy of a fellow-writer and friend, Karen, who posted this beautiful summary of that entire section of Leviticus on Facebook:

"READ LEVITICUS. Yes, it says homosexuality, bestiality and incest are abominations. Of course, so is eating pork, shellfish, divorce and premarital sex. It says if a man sees a woman naked while on her period they shall both be sent into exile, it says a widow is only allowed to remarry if it's her husband's brother - after the first half which goes into detail on how to prepare your animal for sacrifice.

 "To quote the only true Christian I know, "One sin isn't worse than another, who am I to compare my sins to someone else's? It's not my place to judge." That's the difference between religious and SELF RIGHTEOUS. (FYI, you may want to keep in mind a lot of people on Facebook knew you when you were scarfing down a ham sandwich, getting laid or pregnant before marriage, or getting divorced, or having an affair, or whatever other dumb mistakes you made in your past.) DON'T USE THE BIBLE TO JUSTIFY YOUR BIGOTRY OR PREJUDICE!""

Oh dear. This does put Mr. Cathy, as well as poor Mr. Perry's widow in an odd predicament. Will Mr. Cathy, staying true to his beliefs in a literal interpretation of that specific section of the Bible, insist that Mrs. Perry marry her brother-in-law?

Does Mr. Cathy banish Mrs. Cathy from the house to some cave each month so he won't accidentally cross her path adn condemn himself and her to exile? What about the bacon that goes on those Chick-fil-A sandwiches? Has he himself never eaten any? What degree of guilt is confered on someone who offers that evil temptation to customers, condemning them to the flames of hell? Doesn't his putting bacon on a sandwich bring down God's judgment on the country? By offering bacon on the menu, isn't he "shaking his fist at [God] and saying "I know better than you"?"

And what about those chickens they serve? Are they prepared according to the directions that follow in Leviticus? I'm guessing Leviticus doesn't say "cram they fowl into tiny cages and force-feed them of the antibiotic compounds and growth-hormone laced feed." More likely they're killed according to industry, not Biblical, practice. Doesn't that mean he's bringing down the wrath of God on our nation?

I also wonder how Mr. Cathy feels about violating three of the seven deadly sins: gluttony (sorry, fast food is nothing but a luxury item intended to feed people who all ready have too much food), greed (luring people in to eat fast food so he can make a profit while people are starving in the world certainly covers that one!), and pride (seriously, he knows what God intended by the words written by man and interpreted for a few men's (the clergy's) benefit? Talk about pride!) Has he given it any thought, or is he too busy thinking about gay sex?

Isn't it funny that someone who claims to be so Christian is so selective about what parts of Christ's teachings he'll comply with? Or that he's willing to ignore Christ's teachings in the New Testament to embrace parts of the Old Testament that Jesus Christ clearly overrode? What happened to love they neighbor as thyself? Judge not lest you be judged? How does a "good Christian" reconcile their homophobia with the discovery of the genetic basis for homosexuality--the proof that God made someone that way--and their belief that God is infallible? The logical conclusions to that are either that homosexuality IS acceptable to God, or that God makes mistakes. If you want to vehemently embrace your bigotry, your only option is to grant that God does make mistakes. That opens the whole can of worms for arguments about your own interpretation of the Bible. Any passage, any "directive" claiming to be right from God, could be wrong!

I just don't get homophobia. Even more, I don't get how people can forget Jesus Christ's teachings when they're busy shouting so loudly about how "Christian" they are. Maybe we should pay less attention to Leviticus and more to Matthew?

Matthew 6:6
"But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly."

Matthew 7:1-5
"Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. 3Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

To Mrs. Perry, you have my condolences on the loss of your husband. I hope your brother-in-law and future spouse is a good man, and that your sister-in-law and future sister-wife is kind. And that you all enjoy your life in Utah and conversion to Mormonism.

To Mr. Cathy, maybe you should read the WHOLE Bible?

To anyone who has to live in fear because of self-righteous bigotry wrapped in a Bible, remember Isaiah 35:4: "Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you."

As for me, I admit it. I'm angry over this all for selfish reasons. I loved those waffle fries, damnit. Now I'll have to wait for some entrepreneur to step up and fill the void left in my fast food options by Chick-fil-A's unpalatable position. I guess there is a silver-lining here. Mr. Cathy has created an opportunity for job creation in the market place!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Welcome to the Charleston Riverdogs, Robert Refsnyder!

Let me be possibly the first person in the state of South Carolina to offer a sincere and warm welcome to the Charleston Riverdogs' newest player, Robert Refsnyder. Welcome and good luck.

Robert Refsnyder, Most Outstanding Player, College World Series 2012

If you haven't followed college or minor league baseball news lately (and really, unless you or your kid or your college is playing, why would you?), the University of Arizona Wildcats beat the USC Gamecocks in the college world series last month and Refsnyder was named Most Outstanding Player (congratulations!)

Yes, emotions run high with sports, yes, people say stupid things, especially if they happen to be sore losers on the losing side. In this case, the trash talk stepped over the line of even poor sportsmanship. Some USC fans felt the need to contribute to the state's stereotype as the redneck, ignorant jerk capital of the world by not only heckling the player, Refsnyder, who was born in South Korea, adopted and raised in California, but by making threats against his family. Let me be more specific: they were making death threats against his family.

Refsnyder did what any twenty-something would do: He tweeted his reaction to the whole world. He "will never live in South Carolina because they can't accept Asians playing baseball." Not an unreasonable conclusion to jump to when someone threatens your family because of your race.

To anyone who is no more familiar with this state than what they've read in the news or seen on South Park, these USC fans (I'll call them 'Cocks rather than the synonym for what they really are) just reinforced the stereotypes. The intelligent and sensible people of this state should be furious at the USC fans for hurting the state's reputation! And at this point, some USC officials, including Ray Tanner, should have apologized profusely for these morons' stupidity, and dissociated themselves from the "fans" with some "gee, we're sorry, we're sure they aren't USC students or alums, just some out of control fans we don't have any control over," but they didn't. (Although to be fair, rumor has it that some fans and South Carolinians sent Refsnyder messages apologizing for the 'Cocks.)

Fate is a funny thing and Refsnyder was then signed by the New York Yankees. I'm sure he felt quite safe signing with a team whose home is in that bastion of northeastern, liberal elites and racial diversity, New York City, but of course it couldn't be that simple. The Charleston Riverdogs are the Yankee's Class A team and guess where Refsnyder was sent?

To quickly make amends and set a better tone for his move to the south, Refsnyder apologized publicly and profusely in the media and on Twitter for stereotyping the state based on a few bad apples. ("Generalizing the whole state was foolish on my part, just immature.")

For an "immature" twenty-something, Refsnyder took the high road. The Riverdogs are lucky to have such a talented, intelligent, and classy addition to their team. You'd think the Charleston fans would be thrilled and attempt to make up for the poor representation of our state given by USC fan. We are, according to our own myth, the "friendliest city" in the country. I was expecting to see this warm Charleston welcome at the Riverdogs game on Friday, waiting to see my city show this young man that those rude and ignorant crackers were the exception, not the rule in this state, that our reputation is ill-deserved.

I am embarrassed through and through for the City of Charleston, the Riverdogs' fans and organization, and the entire state of South Carolina. If there was any doubt in Refsnyder, or anyone's mind, that his original characterization of the people of this state as racist was incorrect, Riverdogs fans relieved them of that misconception. At his first at-bat, the Riverdogs' fans loudly and overwhelmingly booed and heckled Refsnyder. Matt and I were among the very few who cheered him on.

Way to go Riverdogs fans and Charlestonians. You gave further proof to this young man and to the country that we really are the bunch of racist rednecks everyone thinks we are.

To Robert Refsnyder, welcome to Charleston. You may find it hard to believe right now, but not everyone here is that mean. There are a lot of us "from off" who were raised better, who know what hospitality means, and who can accept and welcome others, regardless of "where your people are from." I wish you all the best in your baseball career and the strength to ignore the myopic, xenophobic and vocal minority and find some real "southern charm" in your time here.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Happy Curmudgeon

Holy Crap! I'm a happy person! Who'd've guessed?

Me being happy

If you found my blog via my website, you may have read the "About Me" section, and more specifically, the part about me embracing my inner-curmudgeon. I have, and while it's made me less frustrated than keeping my irritability locked inside, I've often wondered if maybe that's a less-than-ideal strategy for maintaining some...any...positive perspective on life. By owning my grouchiness, am I dooming myself to a life of misery?

Not according to Marc and Angel's website "Practical Tips for Productive Living." (That sort of website, quite frankly, isn't my usual cup 'o tea with all its perky upbeatness, but a friend posted the link to their "30 traits" on facebook and I just had to read what a bunch of malarkey that would be!) Well, wasn't I in for a surprise! With a whopping 27 of the 30 traits they say happy people possess, I'm practically the poster child for happiness!

Here's the link to their blog where you can take an inventory of your own happiness.

I won't go through my entire self-assessment with you, but I did try to be honest. I lost a point on #6 (I LOVE to complain--it makes me happy, so I'm not sure if I should be penalized for that!) I took off 1/2 a point for #9 (I like to identify idiocy when I see it. I don't think I'm blaming anyone for my failures because I'll find a way around the obstacle despite stupid people, but when things could be easier for EVERYONE if someone would just identify the problem, by name, then I see no reason not to.) I also lost a 1/2 point for #17 because I know I'm arrogant, particularly about things that I excel at, but I didn't take off a full point because I do admit when I make mistakes and I'm humble about those things I'm not very good. Finally, I lost my 3rd point on #18. It's debatable--at least to me--whether being in control of one's emotions is such a big plus on the happiness scale. I love letting my emotions out on a rampage and think everyone would be happier if they occasionally did the same. For the rest of the questions, well, most of those I do in spades and can't fathom NOT doing them.

So, despite my inner and outer grouches having finally synched up and come to the fore of my persona as Curmudgeon-Lynne, I'm actually a pretty darn happy person. I'm happy with myself, the choices I make in life, and my actions.

It's just all the morons out there making bad decisions that impact my life in a negative way that piss me off. Thank goodness I have my curmedgeon to get me through it all!

How about you? How happy are you and what do you think of those traits?