*WARNING: This post is going to contain some opinions and statements that many may find disagreeable. I am aware that in writing this particular post, I will lose some readers and some followers. However, one of the reasons that I started this blog was to help keep myself balanced as I undergo treatment for Bipolar Disorder. The last thing I want is to drive my family apart due to a manic episode brought on by bottled-up rage. If you are comfortable with this, keep reading. If not, skip this post, and I'll see you next time.*
**First off, before I begin, I want to say thank you to all of my readers, followers, and those who have commented on my blogs previously. You all have given me faith in this blog and in the fact that people actually care about what I have to say. Just know that I care about what you all say, too.**
So, Duck Dynasty. I've been hearing a lot about it. I myself have never actually seen it (being a busy college student, the last time I actually sat down to watch television was my school's Fall Break back in October, and I was at home for that), but my friends and family are HUGE fans of the series. They credit the show for having clean humor and for not shying away from the fact that the Robertsons are devout Christians (the end of every episode consists of a prayer over a home-cooked meal).
However, Phil Robertson, the patriarch of the family, has recently come under fire for saying some rather... shall we say, distasteful things about the LGBT community. These kind of comments aren't new to me. Growing up in the South, I was aware of the whole "gay debate:" homosexuality is a sin, gays are going to hell, etc. I even had these beliefs for most of my life. It wasn't until high school that I really started questioning Christianity's position on LGBTs.
My official position on gay rights, and the reasons why I believe it, as of now are best saved for another post, as it's a really long, complicated story, but long story short, I think that every person should have the basic rights that Jefferson wrote about in the Declaration of Independence, "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," and that marrying the man (or woman) you love is a vital part of that. Pope Francis summed it up best when he said, "If a person is gay and seeks the Lord and is of good will, who am I to judge him?" (Of course, being a Christian isn't required to not judge them, but I still think that this is a wonderful quote.)
Was A&E right in banning Phil Robertson? Well, honestly, I don't think that A&E even needed to do that in the first place; the LGBT community and their supporters would have done it for them by boycotting the show themselves. If anything, banning Phil is nothing more than a marketing ploy to garner more support for Duck Dynasty's viewers. When I checked my Facebook this morning, you have no idea how many posts I saw about how A&E was wrong in banning the patriarch. It's what happened with Chick-fil-A, when their supporters crowded locations of the restaurant after the CEO said distasteful things about LGBTs, and now it's happening again.
But this post isn't about whether or not A&E was right. It's not even about whether or not Phil was right. It's about this question: why are we labeling people in the first place? In Gears of Golgotha, the people not only are divided, but they are labeled. Chemists wear white lab coats, while Mages generally get an ornate tattoo on their arm. Even among the Chemists, they are separated into sub-groups; on the breast pocket of the lab coats are symbols based on where that particular Chemist works. Hammers for the Construction Division, a flower for the Botany Division, a cornucopia for the Food Division, etc. You can clearly tell who is considered "the other."
And that's exactly what people are doing today. Whether you watch Fox News or MSNBC, the people on each of these programs will identify what groups constitute "the other" and should be avoided or persecuted. Hell, some "Christians" are even banning certain groups from helping with charity work (personally, if this is what it takes to be a Christian, then I want no part of it). We humans have a natural tendency to avoid things that are different; I dare say that we fear them. Of course, this concept isn't new. But it's sad that we only talk about how to make the world a better place, and never do anything.
That's why I'm writing Gears of Golgotha: to make people realize that labeling people isn't going to go anywhere. Whether we are Christian or atheist or Republican or Democrat or straight or LGBT, we are all the same. We are all human. If we're going to make this world better, we need to drop the labels and work together. New Pangaea got it half right by becoming one global group of humans. We need to take care of the rest.
Love and Coffee cups,