Broken Chains: Part 2 – Cain and Abel

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So, with my last entry I discussed the story of the Creation of Adam and Eve and their subsequent “sin”, their punishment (which included having all of humanity cursed for their mistake), and their expulsion from Eden.  As the book of Genesis continues into chapter 4, we see the birth of Adam and Eve’s first cursed offspring, Cain and Abel.  For those that know the story, I’m sure the first thing that comes to mind is “oh, that’s the one about that guy who killed his brother,” and while that’s true, let’s look it over anyway.  

“Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock.” (Genesis 4: 2-4)

Interesting… I guess it makes sense.  Someone needed to work the farms, because as we saw with the whole “forbidden fruit” scene, God cursed Adam and his male descendants with having to work the ground for their food. It looks like Cain is following in his father’s footsteps.  How unlucky for Cain…

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“The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering,  but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.” (Genesis 4:5)

Odd… When the brother’s story begins we see that each has their own responsibility, Abel tends the animals, Cain tends the fields, but for some reason God isn’t happy with Cain’s offering.  Basically we have Cain working his butt off, bringing some of his work to offer to God, only to have God shake his head in disgust because it wasn’t a big juicy steak like Abel’s?  I’m guessing God is not a vegetarian…

Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast?” (Genesis 4:6)

Oh gee, I wonder! Could it be because the God of the Universe just turned his nose up on something he’s worked hard to bring him, while at the same time patting his brother on the head and telling him how good he is?  Are jealousy and resentment bad things? Sure they are, but again, we have to remember that God is supposed to know everything that has, can, and will happen.  He knew the offerings that these primitive brothers were going to bring, he knew how Cain would react, yet he played the brothers against each other anyway, and he couldn’t just leave it at that.  He had to keep poking and prodding Cain, which I would only imagine would upset someone even more.

“If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” (Genesis 4:7)

I’m still having trouble understanding up until this point, what it was that Cain did wrong in this story.  In a world without many career options, is it such a bad thing to grow vegetables to help feed your family?  Man can’t live on meat alone, right?  I think if I were Cain I’d be pretty upset that the Creator of all things was telling me my life choice to work the fields sucked too (even though that very same Creator cursed the men of the world to do just that!)

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To make a long story short, Cain, worked into a blind rage by his loving Creator, lures his brother to a field and kills him.  Shocking.

“Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?”

“I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

The Lord said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.” (Genesis 4:9-10)

Once again, as with Adam and Eve in the garden, we see God acting all clueless.  I’m not sure why this is necessary.  Cain knows God knows and sees all, and God knows Cain knows he sees everything, yet here he is once again asking silly questions for which he already knows the answers.  If Adam and Eve’s story is any example, then a heavy handed curse is sure to come next…  

“Now you are under a curse (Surprise!) and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.”

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My goodness, God sure loves cursing his creation… For Cain he’s basically taken away all he’s ever known and has driven him from his family.  I wonder why God just didn’t kill him?  God also says a curious thing here: “The ground… opened it’s mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand.”  But I wonder who truly has Abel’s blood on their hands here?  Let’s look at the facts:  We have God, who knows everything, past, present, and future and then we have Cain, a primitive man who knows basically one thing, which is how to work the fields, and who also doesn’t have any human interaction outside of his family.  In my opinion, if anyone is responsible for Abel’s death in this story, it’s God.  He would have to know every single thing that would happen, which means he could easily have patted Cain on the head along with Abel and said “Good boy! What nice vegetables you’ve brought me!” Instead, he chose to play the brothers against each other and then he toyed with Cain’s emotions, driving him into a rage.  God may as well have smashed Abel’s head in himself.  I guess that wouldn’t have been quite as fun or dramatic as driving Cain insane and making him do it, right?  After all, there was no reality television back then! How else was God going to amuse himself?   

Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is more than I can bear. Today you are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence; I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.” (Huh? Where did these other people come from that Cain’s talking about?)

But the Lord said to him, “Not so; anyone who kills Cain will suffer vengeance seven times over.” Then the Lord put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him.  So Cain went out from the Lord’s presence and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden.” (Genesis 4:13-16)

What a happy, storybook ending! Not only would God not give Cain the dignity of a swift execution, he made sure no one else could do so either; how loving! Of course I guess it wouldn’t be a Bible story without shame, pain, anger, some blood, God’s wrath, and a few curses! If there’s anything to learn from the Cain and Abel story, it’s that vegetables are from the Devil.  So make sure you remember that all you vegans and vegetarians out there! 😉

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Well, that brings this week’s entry to a close.  I hope you’ll read my next one when I discuss the story of Noah; The First Genocide!

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James Garcia: 8/26/2015

Broken Chains: Part 1 – Adam and Eve

Issue 1 – A Poisoned Cupcake:

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“Then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed… The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Genesis 2: 7-17)

My first problem with the Adam and Eve story begins with the creation of Adam and the Garden of Eden.  Here we see God creating Adam from dust, then building a beautiful garden for him to live in.  But for some strange reason he decides to plant a tree right in the middle of that garden that will supposedly kill him… My question is why?  The God we’ve seen up to this point is presented as this all-powerful being who knows exactly what this newly created, innocent being will do, yet he plants this deadly tree there anyway?  What purpose could this possibly serve?  Many who actually believe this story to be true fall back on the “well it was necessary so that man could have free will and could choose to obey God willingly.”  But was it really necessary (outside of a story narrative that is…)?  Do parents that are not cruel and vindictive sociopaths test the obedience of their children by putting deadly temptations within their reach? For any parent out there, let me know which choice  you feel your child (who has no concept of life or death) would make if you put a poisoned cupcake on the ground, said “Don’t eat this, it’s poisonous!”, then left the room.  I don’t have any children, but I am pretty certain of the choice my nieces and nephews would make.  
According to the story, at this point Adam has no knowledge of the world (which was apparently just created), no concept of temptation, of sin, or of disobedience.  Yet somehow he is supposed to be able to resist temptation? Because that makes sense. Right? 

Issue 2 – Major Surgery:

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“Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.  So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.” (Genesis 2: 18-22)

Even though, just a few short verses ago, we were told that God made Adam from dust in just a few seconds, for some reason he had to mutilate his newly created being to make another.  Why? (Let’s just ignore the fact that God apparently just spoke the Universe and all other living things into existence, but for some reason can’t speak Adam and Eve into existence the same way…)

Issue 3 – The Crafty Serpent:

“Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made.  He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die.  For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”  So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.” (Genesis 3:1-6)

Apparently Adam was just too darn successful at avoiding the temptation of the tree-trap that God put in Eden.  In this section, God throws in a few more kinks and we see the “big mistake” that Adam and Eve made that apparently cursed mankind for all eternity, all orchestrated by that “Crafty Serpent.”  But the very first line of the story says that “the Lord God had made” the serpent, so who was really behind this horrible error?  As with Adam, God supposedly made the Serpent exactly the way that he was.  If this God was truly all knowing, then why in the world did He create the Serpent, then allow him to roam the garden and corrupt his innocent creation?

If Christians are to believe that God has everything planned, right down to the hair on their heads, then, if this story is to be believed, how can we ignore the fact that this entire scenario would have been part of that plan? If one is willing to admit that the “fall” of man was part of God’s plan, then how can they then believe that those considered “sinful” deserve to be cast into Hell to be tortured for all eternity?  Many say that this is just the first part of the whole “Redemption” narrative of Christ’s salvation, but if that’s true, then that still means that God created billions of human beings who didn’t know Christ (and in fact would never have a chance to know him) specifically for the purpose of doing bad things and to be thrown into a pit of fire to be tortured for all eternity.  But I’m jumping into the concept of a future entry, so I’ll move along…

Issue 4 – Our Evil Bodies:

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“Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths, and they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.” (Genesis 3:7-8)

So we see in this section the foundation of the Christian ideal that our bodies and our sexuality are not just immodest, but evil.  Some might argue that is not the point of the passage, but that is exactly the point of the passage.  Adam and Eve had just eaten from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, their “eyes were opened”, and they realized their naked bodies were evil, so covered themselves.  This probably wouldn’t affect an adult much, because we already have certain societal guidelines regarding modesty, but what sort of damage does this sort of nonsense do to a child’s self-esteem if they are told repeatedly, in their formative years, that their bodies are evil and shameful?  It’s evil to be naked?  Really? Why?

Issue 5 – God Plays Dumb and The “Blame” Game:

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But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

This entire passage almost seems like a scene from a Three Stooges episode or some other silly sitcom.  We have God, who is supposed to know everything, asking questions like “Where are you” and “did you eat from the tree I told you not to eat from?” when we all know he already knows, and then we have Adam and Eve, covering their private parts, nervously shuffling their feet, pointing fingers at one another, then finally at the Serpent.  The funniest part is that Adam even attempts to blame God for all the trouble! “Well the woman YOU gave me made me do it!” It’s just ridiculous, and very hard to take seriously.  It would almost be funny if it weren’t followed up with a scene worse than something straight out of A Child Called It

Issue 5 – Can Someone Say “Overreaction?”:

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“The Lord God said to the serpent: ‘Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life.  I will put enmity  between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.’” (Genesis 3: 14-15)

Ignoring the fact that this is biologically inaccurate (something you think God would know…) God is apparently making the woman and her children hate the serpent, whether they really want to or not.  What happened to free will?  

“To the woman he said:  I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” (Genesis 3:16)

If you think this scripture would fit perfectly in the “How to be a Misogynist” handbook, you’re not the only one.  Not only is the story saying that God is cursing women for the rest of humanity’s existence with nearly unbearable pain when giving birth to children, but he’s also making her a slave to her husband?  It kind of seems like Eve is getting the greater portion of God’s displeasure here, but she’s just a woman right?  This is just the tip of the ice-berg when it comes to horrific things happening to women in the Bible.  

“And to Adam he said:  ‘Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;  thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field.  By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.’” (Genesis 3:17-19)

So, add to the “Things that are Evil” list “Listening to your wife” right below “being naked.”  I’m having a hard time seeing Adam’s punishment as comparable to the severity of Eve’s.  So basically he has to grow and harvest vegetables and sweat a little?  I’m sure Eve would have gladly taken that over the pain of childbirth.   

“The man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.  And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them” (Genesis 3:20-21)

So, once more we have a little bit of body shaming.  Before it was just Adam and Eve thinking it, but here God had a chance to say “Hey guys, I created you in my image.  Your bodies aren’t shameful! They’re natural!” But instead he decides to slaughter a few animals and cover them up, reinforcing their body issues. 

“Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—” therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken.  He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.” (Genesis 3:22-24)

So apparently all it takes to be “like God” is an understanding of what is good and evil and a little bit of immortality.  But seriously… The Bible tells us over and over and over again how “loving” God is, what an awesome, caring Father he is.  It even goes so far as to say that human parents can’t even understand the measure of God’s love for “his children”, yet I can’t imagine any sane parent that truly loves their children, punishing them in the fashion that God is supposedly punishing beings that were basically the equivalent of extremely naive and trusting children, who had no concept of sin, evil, disobedience, or deception.  Not only that but he’s punishing all of their descendants, for as long as humans exist, with the same punishment, even though they hadn’t even had their chance to make their own choices!  This is considered just and loving?  This is a being that Christians think deserves to be worshiped? To me it sounds more like a character out of a scary movie.  

There are many Christians these days that say the Adam and Eve story is just a moral story or a parable, and I’ve even heard some say that it was never meant to be taken as truth.  But the Bible and history itself don’t back up that assertion.  The “Sin of Adam” is mentioned multiple times throughout the Bible, by Jesus, Paul, and the other Apostles.  56% of Americans think that Adam and Eve were real people! This isn’t some small sect that everyone thinks is crazy, like the Westboro Baptist church.  This is a large portion of humanity that ignores common sense, biology, archeology, and all of the other evidence that shows this is just a strange, misogynistic, story.  These same people demand that this nonsense be taught in public schools in science classes! It’s insane! Whether the original author was off his rocker and truly believed God told him that this is what happened, or if he wrote it as some cautionary tale to get people to do what he wanted, it still amounts to the same thing:  When this story is looked at logically, with all of the historical and scientific discoveries that have been made, it just doesn’t make sense.  

James Garcia: 8/19/2015

Broken Chains: Introduction

When I first came out as both gay and agnostic, I made a comment in my post about there being certain things in the Bible that, looked at together, made it impossible for me to keep being a Christian.  The truth of the matter, is that it’s not little, isolated scriptures here and there that make me have small doubts.  It is very big things in the Bible that make it impossible for me to believe the narrative; from Adam and Eve, all the way to Revelation.  For the next few weeks I plan on writing a series of posts that discuss a few of the problems with some of the more well known Bible stories that many Christians profess to be, not just parables, but historical truth, in spite of the fact that there is no truly concrete evidence for them. I will also discuss some of the more commonly held Christian beliefs (i.e. Hell, blood atonement, etc…) I am not entirely sure how long the series will be and I may also have out-of-series posts here and there.  I am also certain that there are many who have done this very same thing before (and have probably done it better), but this is something that I’ve been wanting to do for a few weeks now, so here it is.  I am calling the series “Broken Chains” because (to steal a Christian analogy) I truly feel that once I turned away from religion, that the mental chains that I had binding me, for years of my life, were finally broken.

Disclaimer: For those that read my blog that are Christian, know that I am not attacking you, I am not attacking your beliefs, and I am not advocating for you to be persecuted somehow.  If you believe things that I don’t and can reconcile that with the world around you, fine.  What I am doing is discussing things that made it impossible for me to believe.  These are issues that have led me to where I am in my life. I hope that if you do choose to read these posts, that you will do so with an open mind, you will reflect on your own beliefs, that you will ask yourself if you have answers to the questions that I pose, and also whether those answers stand up to harsh scrutiny.  If you can’t handle having these stories and beliefs questioned, then I strongly advise you to pass on reading any of the posts in this series.  You have been warned.  

James Garcia: 8/19/2015

My GOD Target! Think of the CHILDREN!!!!

“In the beginning God created toys, and god said “let the toys be separated between male and female… And the male toys shall be army men, trucks, and superheroes.  They shall all be in shades of green, blue, grey, black, and brown, and the color pink shall never touch them.  And the girl toys will be Barbie dolls, princesses, easy bake ovens, teddy bears, and unicorns.  They shall be in shades of pink and purple and adorned with sparkles.” And so God placed a sign labeled “Boys” above the toy isle for boys and one labeled “Girls” above the toy isle for girls.  And so God said “It is good.”  

In the following statement posted a few days ago Target announced that they would be removing unnecessary gender based signs / color coding:

“Right now, our teams are working across the store to identify areas where we can phase out gender-based signage to help strike a better balance. For example, in the kids’ Bedding area, signs will no longer feature suggestions for boys or girls, just kids. In the Toys aisles, we’ll also remove reference to gender, including the use of pink, blue, yellow or green paper on the back walls of our shelves. You’ll see these changes start to happen over the next few months.”  

Seems harmless, right?  Well, not according to some.  As I’m sure Target fully expected, their announcement caused an uproar of crazy on their Facebook page.  In addition to hoards of “I’ll never shop at Target again!!!” comments (dramatic much?) here are some of my “favorite” examples of crazy found on Target’s Facebook comments section (no matter what the post was actually about):

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As usual the nonsense and slippery-slope arguments are being tossed out everywhere by these people.  Apparently in their minds Target is now going to force men and women to try on the clothes of the opposite gender and Target approved child molesters will be prowling around the toy isles waiting to snatch children! My god! Where will it end!? What’s next? A mandatory sex changing station in every section???

While these comments are clear overreactions to what is actually being done, they are’t the ones that really bother me. The ones that irk me far more than the other “normal” crazy fare, are those that attempt to bring God into the equation:

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I don’t quite understand how anyone thinks it’s reasonable to bring god into a discussion about gender stereotypes.  Gender stereotypes and gender roles are created by human beings.  If god exists, then he / she / it had nothing to do with what we consider masculine and feminine.  If he did, then the stereotypes and roles would have existed throughout history and throughout every culture, never changing.  But the fact is, they are different in every culture, and they have changed multiple times throughout history.  Take this picture for instance:

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You might think “Aw! What a cute little girl, with her pretty dress and curly hair!” Well… Let’s take a look at this little “girl” all grown up:

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That’s right.  It was FDR, the 32nd President of the United States, the whole time.  So, as early as the end of the 1800’s to the early 1900’s it was considered perfectly acceptable for a little boy to be dressed in a pretty dress and lace, and it didn’t seem to harm him even the slightest bit.  A little before that pink was considered masculine, while blue was considered feminine.  At one point it was considered a woman’s place to be in the home, cooking, cleaning, and taking care of children.  But thanks to two world wars and the Great Depression, women began to make their way into the workforce and began to realize that they could work and earn a living just as easily as a man could (unfortunately their pay still hasn’t caught up to their male counterparts).

The point of all of this is that gender stereotypes and gender roles are fluid.  They’re constantly changing.  They aren’t ordained by any sort of god (in spite of what some people claim), and they haven’t “always been that way.”  Kids aren’t going to suddenly run out of Target screeching in terror because there aren’t “Boys” and “Girls” signs above the toy isles, Target isn’t going to start forcing their customers to wear clothing “inappropriate” to their gender when they shop there, and the world isn’t going to end.  So… All of you new Target haters, take a deeeeep breath, calm down a little, and think about why Target might be doing this.

Quotes from two articles, one from the United Nations Human Rights Office and one from Think Progress, give a few reasons why gender stereotyping and gender roles are not only unnecessary, but harmful:

Regarding Judges and the law:

“It compromises judges’ impartiality. It also influences their understanding of criminal offences and their perception on whether violence has occurred in cases such as the rape of sex workers, of married women by their husbands, or domestic violence in same-sex relationships.
Stereotypes affect judges’ views about witness credibility or legal capacity. Such is the case when judges form a negative view about the credibility of the victims who do not behave in a stereotypical manner.

Further, stereotyping can also stop judges from holding perpetrators accountable or even cause them to blame the victim. Finally, stereotyping can impede access to legal rights and protection for victims of violence. The R.P.B v. Philippines case presented to CEDAW under the individual complaint procedure, Cusack mentioned, highlighted many of these harms. The rapist of a deaf and mute 17-year-old girl was acquitted by the court because the Judge expected the victim to fight her aggressor in order to protect her purity.

The Sexuality of Teenagers:

“Speaking of the impact of stereotypes on the reproductive and sexual health and rights of women and girls, Veronica Undurraga, Law Professor at Adolfo Ibañez University in Santiago, Chile, said that there was a belief that girls should not manifest any interest in sexuality, whereas male teenagers were expected to be more vocal and aggressive.”

Girls-Sports, Self-Esteem Issues, and Body Image:

“Girls who enjoyed sports often avoided physical activity at school because they assumed it wouldn’t be a feminine thing to do, they worried they might look unattractive while running, or they were mocked by their male peers for not being good enough. The girls also put themselves on diets because they believed desirable women have to be skinny.”

“All of the girls were within very healthy weights, but they were all restricting their intake of food in some way. So what we’re really talking about here is 14-year-old girls, whose bodies are changing and developing, depriving themselves at every meal,” Pereira said.“In the extreme, that can lead to things like eating disorders. But even for the women who don’t reach the extreme, it can be very unhealthy for them.” 

Boys-Masculinity, Violence, and Alcoholism:

“Male participants in the study all faced intense pressure to demonstrate the extent of their manliness, which led to what Pereira calls “everyday low-level violence”: slapping and hitting each other, as well as inflicting pain on other boys’ genitals. They were encouraged to physically fight each other if they were ever mocked or offended. They felt like they had to drink unhealthy amounts of alcohol because that’s what a man would do. And they were under certain mental health strains, too; struggling with anxiety about proving themselves and suppressing their feelings, all while lacking a strong emotional support system.”

The Overall Harmful Affects of Gender Roles on Young People:

“This constant effort to manage one’s everyday life in line with gender norms produces significant anxiety, insecurity, stress and low self-esteem for both boys and girls, and both for ‘popular’ young people and those who have lower status in school.”

How Do Kids Feel About Gender Roles?:

“The teens who participated in the Lisbon study — including the kids who bullied others and the kids who were victims of bullying themselves — weren’t happy about the gender roles they were expected to follow. In their one-on-one interviews, they all said they didn’t actually like paying so much attention to the right “feminine” and “masculine” behaviors, and just assumed that’s what they were supposed to do.”

Did Things Change After They Were Removed?:

“Pereira (the author of the study) acknowledges it’s not like it was “suddenly paradise,” but she noticed the kids stopped mocking their peers as much for falling outside the bounds of traditionally gendered behavior. Girls and boys started to become more integrated in athletic activities. There was less physical fighting. And some of the kids’ parents even started calling Pereira to tell her about positive changes in their behavior.”  

My point to all of this is just to say let kids be kids! If they are high-energy little boys (or girls) who want to play sports and pretend to be superheroes, fine. If they want to play with Barbies or My Little Ponies, who cares? If they are little girls who like dinosaurs and putting together Leggo sets, big deal! It doesn’t automatically mean they’re going to be gay or transgender.  Then again, maybe it does! If they do end up being LGBT, it’s not the end of the world, it’s just who they are. They didn’t have a choice in the matter, and neither do you.  No matter how hard you try and force them to conform to gender roles and stereotypes, you will never change who they grow up to be.  In fact, all you’ll most likely end up doing is destroying their self-esteem, possibly causing mental issues, and ultimately making life much more difficult for them than it needs to be.  Is that really what you want?  I know that what I want for my future children is for them to grow up to be smart, independent, self-sufficient, well rounded individuals who treat others with respect and kindness.  If they occasionally want to do things that an archaic societal creation says is for the opposite gender, then so be it.  I’ll still love them anyway.

(Oh and by the way, if you can’t differentiate between “girls” and “boys” merchandise (whether it be toys, clothes, or bedding) without signs that point it out for you, that’s a very good sign that those differences are probably a figment of your imagination anyway.  Either that, or you have a more serious problem than Target (or anyone else) can help you with.)

James Garcia 8/11/2015

Hurry! God Apparently Needs Your Help!

I’ve seen a couple of different articles in the last day or so that, while serious in nature, made me chuckle just a bit, and also shake my head in disgust… Probably a combination of both at the same time.  Apparently a “Christian” couple from Iowa is hoping to have 1,000 billboards (pictured left) put up across America (they’ve got one so far…)  They have a “Help us spread our hate!” account to raise the money for the billboards that has made a whopping $156 so far! Here’s why I find this both a little funny and very disgusting.

Here’s the funny part:  These people claim to be Christian and it is well known that Christians believe god to be all powerful, all seeing, and all knowing… Yet for some odd reason, god “needs our help” to stop gay marriage?  If god is “all-powerful” then why in the world can’t he just make gay marriage a non-issue on his own?  Why does he need the help of fundamentalists?  Apparently, in their opinion, the “Gay Mafia” (as some right-wingers like to put it), has so much more power than god that he has to ask far right-wing fundamentalists to help him defeat it.  In addition to being funny, it’s also frighteningly arrogant that these people think that they can speak for a god (whether the Christian one or not.)

Here’s the disgusting part: What I find disgusting, is that people like this couple still don’t understand why those that don’t share their flavor of faith (and even some that do) think that this sort of thing is hateful. With this sign, what they’re saying boils down to is: “Please! Help us force our religious beliefs on those heathens that don’t share them! Help us make laws that place our religion over all others because ours is right and theirs is wrong! Oh and by the way, if you don’t you’re all going to Hell! Come on people! We can’t share this country with people that aren’t Christian!”

The thing about these fundamentalist types is that they can’t seem to say how gay marriage affects them in any way, other than the fact that they’ll have to live in a society where gay people can get married.  They don’t have to marry a gay person.  At worst they’ll possibly have to sell a cake or something at their business, that they already sell regularly! But, again, they don’t even want to have to see gay people, much less sell them one of their products.  Again, they can’t even explain how selling a product to a gay couple somehow violates their religion, but selling a cake to a couple getting married for the second time doesn’t.

They also can’t explain how Jesus could supposedly feed free bread and fish to 5,000 people, regularly dine with prostitutes, thieves, and liars (all of them sinners according to the Bible), yet for some bizarre reason they can’t sell something that their business offers without supposedly violating their religious beliefs (which they claim are based on the teachings of Jesus… Even though their Bible says he did the exact opposite…)  None of this nonsense makes any sense.  I have to hope that before long these types of beliefs will be looked at like the beliefs of those that opposed interracial marriage and segregation.  Or even better, that they just fade away all together, never to be seen or heard again.

Blasphemer

James Garcia – 8/5/2015