The Republic of T.

Black. Gay. Father. Vegetarian. Buddhist. Liberal.

Heavenly Father or Hostage Taker?

I don’t mean to start any blasphemous rumors,

But I think that God’s got a sick sense of humor.

And when I die, I expect to find him laughing.

~ Depeche Mode, “Blasphemous Rumors”

This is something I’ve never quite been able to get my mind around for a number of reasons, the most mystifying being that evangelical right wingers think this is supposed to win the rest of us over to their way of seeing things. I mean, it amazes me on a daily basis that anyone, anyone who takes even a minute to think about it actually buys this bullshit.

Yes I said bullshit. If you ask me, the late great George Carlin called it.

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In the Bullshit Department, a businessman can’t hold a candle to a clergyman. ‘Cause I gotta tell you the truth, folks. When it comes to bullshit, big-time, major league bullshit, you have to stand in awe of the all-time champion of false promises and exaggerated claims: religion. No contest. No contest. Religion. Religion easily has the greatest bullshit story ever told.

Think about it. Religion has actually convinced people that there’s an invisible man — living in the sky — who watches everything you do, every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a special list of ten things he does not want you to do. And if you do any of these ten things, he has a special place, full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish, where he will send you to live and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry forever and ever ’til the end of time!

But He loves you.

He loves you, and He needs money! He always needs money! He’s all-powerful, all-perfect, all-knowing, and all-wise, somehow just can’t handle money! Religion takes in billions of dollars, they pay no taxes, and they always need a little more. Now, you talk about a good bullshit story. Holy Shit!

— George Carlin Politically Incorrect, May 29, 1997

The reason for this rant comes via Ex-Gay Watch.

Ex-gay, ex-Exodus leader Anthony Falzarano believes God may have caused a lesbian’s partner to die of breast cancer in order to chastise her.

Falzarano, the founder of PFOX, told former ex-gay Darlene Bogle that God may have been trying to teach her something by taking away her gay partner of 15 years, Des. In a comment posted to the Beyond Ex-Gay website, Falzarano wrote:

Darlene, I’m glad I ran across your blog. I still miss you. I am sorry to hear that your lover died of breast-cancer. Darlene is God sending you a message? Please consider coming back to Exodus. You are loved and missed. Why would God call you back to lesbianism, give you a lover and then take her away. I’m sorry that you are going through this. My heart is breaking right now but I believe that you belong to the Lord and “He chastizes [sic] the one’s that he loves”. I believe He is calling you back. If you want to talk I am here to listen. Please call me at [number removed] if you want to talk. May God Bless You, Anthony Falzarano

So, what about everyone else who dies of cancer? What message was God sending them? What message was God sending my parents when my father died of cancer after their 50 years of heterosexual marriage? (My dad even spent what would be our last moments together and our last words to each other urging me to “get saved” and “go straight,” and Falzarano’s God still didn’t cut him a break.) Why would Falzarano’s God give my mom a husband and then take him away?

What about the hospital wards loaded with God-fearing heterosexual folk, lying in heap at death’s door? What “message” is Falzarano’s God sending them? What about the women who get breast cancer and survive? Heterosexual women like my mom and my sister? What “message” was Falzarano’s God sending them?

What about the countless people, God-fearing Christian people who simply have tragic accidents? Is Falzarano’s God teaching them a lesson or sending them a message by allowing these things to happen? And if so, does he communicate that message exclusively to Falzarano? Or do accidents just happen; some with known explanations, like blind spots in vehicles, and some without explanation?

Or do people just get sick because they’re people and people get sick? If you catch a cold, chances are it’s because you came across the virus. If your a woman and you get breast cancer, it may well be that you carry a gene for breast cancer. (Something you had well before you knew anything about your sexual orientation.)

Maybe people get sick because there are an endless number of things — from disease to birth defects — that can and do go wrong with the human body.

I don’t know Darlene Bogle, and I don’t know what faith she embraces after having escaped the clutches of Exodus. But I do know what it’s like to lose a loved one to cancer, and I hope that whatever faith Bogle embraces, or whatever belief or community of friends and loved-ones she takes refuge in is one that more comforting than Falzarano’s psychotic supreme being who’s method of winning you over is to kill off the people love until you do what he wants you to do.

I dunno. Its been many, many years, but I am a former Sunday school teacher, and my understanding was that the God I was raised to believe in wanted you to come to him of your own free will, as opposed to being terrorized in to belief and obedience. From here, Falzarano’s “heaveny father” looks more like a hostage taker.

Overkill, if you ask me. Especially for someone whose supposed to be the only game in town anyway.

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