Namo amitabha Buddhaya, y'all.
This here's a religious establishment. Act respectable.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Radical Acceptance

I dunno if any of you have the privilege of watching WFAA's morning news show, but if you do and you happened to see it Monday, boy howdy, what a show you got.  Monday was the day the Boy Scouts were supposed to announce whether or not they were changing their policy on accepting gay members, but they changed their minds and didn't announce it after all.  (Maybe they weren't prepared.)  Anyway, reporter Shon Gables was interviewing this pastor guy, who was all in favor of not only keeping out gay Boy Scouts but banishing gay people to the end of the Earth, evidently, or maybe even farther than that. Among other things, he said that the "radical homosexual agenda" was all about using "terrorist tactics" on good God-fearing folk.

If anybody has a copy of the radical homosexual agenda, would you send it to me, please?  I lost mine the last time I was out practicing my terrorist tactics.  And since when did organizing, protesting and letter writing become terrorist tactics, anyway?  Somebody ought to notify Homeland Security.  But enough about this guy, he had plenty of air time as it was.  Let's talk about this reporter for a second.  Right in the middle of this interview, she asks this guy if he maybe already has some people in the Boy Scouts that are hiding their "gender identity."  He allows that he probably does.  I missed everything else, though, because I was busy rolling my eyes.

"Gender identity"?!  What does that have to do with anything?  Isn't this the 21st century?  Can there actually be people who don't know the difference between "gender identity" and "sexual orientation"?  I guess there are.  Okay, here we go: "Sexual orientation" has everything to do with who you love.  As in, male or female.  "Gender identity" has everything to do with how you feel.  As in, male or female.  If you're a woman trapped in a man's body, you have "gender identity disorder," not "sexual orientation disorder."  And, okay, I'll reluctantly accept that I can't expect everyone in America to know that, but how about a reporter who's reporting on gay and lesbian issues?  Is that too much to ask?  I hope not, because every time the collective I.Q. of the United States slides down another point, I break out in hives.

And look.  I know somebody's gonna say it. "You keep making Christians out to be the bad guys."  I know.  I'm sorry.  But, ya know, I keep getting such good examples.  Where are the rest of you, the 99% of Christians what love one another like Jesus said?  Could y'all grab the microphone away from these other guys and, I dunno, SAY SOMETHING once in a while?  It'd be appreciated.  I used to run with a Lutheran street gang, I know of what I speak.  In San Diego the Christians were the ones trying to close the abortion clinics and gerrymander all the gay and lesbian folk into Imperial Beach until my gang marched downtown to protest the closing of a residential hotel that kept many near-homeless folks off the street.  We were on the news, organist Jared ringing his bell and pastor Noel demanding justice.  We got the hotel to stay open for three more months, long enough for most of the residents to make other arrangements.  And when the Westboro Babtist folks came and protested us, we protested right back at 'em, in the middle of Sunday services, no less.  So never say it can't be done.  Evil flourishes when good people wring their hands about How Things Look and then go back inside to make lutefisk.

Anyway, this blog post started out being something about trying to accept something you don't want to accept because you really, really wanted it to turn out different.  I'm not sure how we ended up in San Diego protesting the Westboro Babtists.  Trouble is, I don't know how to say it, now.  Just that, you know, if you've known someone for a very long time, and all that time they've been doing things a certain way, it's very strange that you would expect them to suddenly do things a different way, just because you want everything to turn out differently from the way it usually does.  Am I being obtuse on purpose?  Um, yes.  But I'm kind of in that sort of situation, and it's no different than expecting Fred Phelps to suddenly appear on TV with his arms around, oh, say, Ellen DeGeneris.  (Sorry, Ellen, if that gives you the creeps; I'd have one of my "He's dripping slime on me" moments, too.)  (Nice thing about blogging; you get to borrow celebrities.  Leonard Nimoy is stopping by next week and the last time Annie Lennox called to say she loved me, my page views shot into the thousands.)

In Buddhism, there's this concept called "radical acceptance."  It's when you pay attention to how you feel about a given situation and just--accept the way that you feel.  You know, just kind of sit there with it, instead of downing a beer or chowing down on several doughnuts or, I dunno, turning on the TV.  No problem doing this when you're happy or serene, and even when you're mildly distressed.  But when you're trying to swallow that the person you've known for a very long time is just basically never going to give you what you want, and you're pounding on a door that ain't never gonna open--whew.  That is some trick, brother.  Much easier to sit with how you feel about Fred Phelps and the San Diego Lutherans, or the WFAA morning show.  Or the Boy Scouts.  But for that, my friends, I am not prepared.