|A Conversation Involving Religion and Segregation
Author: SamuelH73 PM
This was an actual event that occurred this morning, and it got me thinking about the subject. Read if you like, no need to review, but outside insight is always welcome, provided it is intelligent and concise.Rated: Fiction M - English - Words: 1,001 - Reviews: 2 - Published: 04-07-09 - Status: Complete - id: 2656897
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This is a true story. Names have been changed to protect the ignorant.
Being a somewhat outspoken gay man, I tend to get odd questions or get into odd conversations regarding religion and/or sexuality. Usually I am on the receiving end of a tirade or religiously fueled argument. This was an actual conversation I was a part of (mainly because I had little choice in the matter, as you will see) and I post it here to open a forum for this subject.
Several things you must keep in mind when reading this:
1. I work in the south-eastern part of Texas, which is remarkably unforgiving when it comes to "deviant" sexual behavior (unless it is between a man and a woman, in which case it's a subject to brag about to one's friends).
2. I was open while I lived in Houston, but I cannot be open where I work, as I am surrounded by redneck religious conservatives (because I value my health and sanity). It is a difficult thing for me to do, as I have been open at my last two jobs and I have been "out" for the last 20 years.
3. Only a few people at work know about my orientation, for reasons stated in #2.
Now, on with the story:
I had to travel with my boss, "Jane", because my insurance ran out and I had to wait until payday to get it renewed. We often got along quite well at work and the fact that she was one of the few people at work who knew I was gay made it a little easier to be open with her, despite the fact she is Catholic.
We were heading into work one morning and saw a security guard (I work at a high security plant) doing something; she mentioned she knew the guard in question and added, "…and she's married to a black man."
Now for those of you who don't live or are familiar with south Texas, allow me to explain: This is considered by many to be an unforgivable sin (religious as well as secular). Racism still rears its ugly head in very subtle ways here.
Anyway, I mentioned my sister had dated a black guy in high school (and received malicious gossip and social rejection by her peers) and, in my typical sarcastic fashion, said "Oooo, scandalous!"
She replied "Well, I told my daughter she better not date a black person, ever." (Note: Person, not man.)
Needless to say I was a little shocked by this revelation. "Why in the world would you tell her that?"
"Well, I don't think any races should mix together; anyway, it's in the Bible."
I was floored when I heard that statement. Here was (someone I thought was) my friend, advocating something that was subtly racist, and ending it with the flippant (and blanket justification of) 'it's in the Bible'. After a long pause I replied, "Oh, yeah…They used those same verses to justify segregation."
She shrugged, at a loss at that moment, but bravely forged onward. "Well, it doesn't work out anyway; my sister has dated two Mexicans and both of them were abusive." (Note the shift from blacks to Mexicans.) She continued to dig the hole. "Black men are abusive as well."
"Well, do you think it could have anything to do with the choice of men?" I ventured bravely, thinking an intelligent observation would help.
She immediately backpedaled. "Oh, well, not all of them, of course. I mean, my first husband was abusive, so…" and she let it drop. Obviously she remembered in time the fact of her first husband being abusive (and, of course, they are both white).
Once again I was stunned by her ignorance (I was also half awake, as I had just woken up to go to work). "Um, you know my ex I was telling you about, the one I visited last weekend? He's black."
(A side note: My ex and I were together for about three years and there was absolutely no physical violence involved in our breakup. In actuality, I have dated many black men and none of them were ever physically abusive.)
She reiterated her previous statement and let it mumble into nothingness, but the impression within me remained as we went into our building to get ready for work.
I realize religion is applied with personal biases and colored with self interests, and I also realize this has been done throughout history. I am fully aware that people can twist the laws/rules of their religion to justify all sorts of evil. A friend of mine who has gone through seminary is my personal reference book when it comes to matters involving the Bible; he is quite knowledgeable about the eccentricities of that document. I have asked him to look up the relevant passages so I may better understand what "Jane's" point of view is.
(Personal confession: I am not, nor ever have been, religious. I do not feel religion is necessary for humanity or life in general; while it has done wonders for people it has also been used for selfish purposes. For all intents and purposes I consider myself a humanist. This does not mean I think religion is evil or bad or misguided; it simply isn't for me. At the same time, I support freedom of (anyone's) religion; if it works for you, great!)
Think about the situation I have written about and think about the ramifications of her statements and discuss amongst you; if you like, post an intelligent reply (or speak to me directly). Flames regarding this matter will be deleted if the content is either non-conducive or curse-filled rants; while I wholeheartedly support freedom of speech, I do not want people to read bilious, pus-filled rants with no purpose other than to denigrate or criticize myself or a fellow poster.