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A Mother's Day Reflection

This evening, here on DK, I got sucked into a troll feeding frenzy.  I have no one to blame but myself.  You know how it goes:  a few strong, but not extreme, comments get you responding and you turn around two hours later to find you've just spent all that time cooking and stocking a Las Vegas-style buffet for a cave-dwelling, bridge-claiming troll.  My apologies to all those who had to scroll through that mess of comments.  I will try to be more troll-wary in future.

But the topic of the diary (bridge?) that the troll was trying to claim centered on what Christ had to say about the gays.  Which started me thinking about my mom.

(All will be explained below the Orange Squiggle of Doom.)

I've written about my mother here before.  I hope you'll indulge me one more time.

My mother is approaching 73 years of age.  Both she and my father were born and raised in a small, rural, western Nebraska community.  They were raised Christian and conservative (which is considered to be repetitious where they come from).

I get my values, both Christian and otherwise, from them.  They loved, cared for, taught and raised my sister and me to the best of their abilities and in the way they had been.

I tend to identify mostly with my mother for two main reasons: 1- I'm a guy and boys seem to bond to their mothers more and girls to their fathers (wow, very broad brush strokes there, please take them for what they're worth), and 2- Our house was a "traditional" house were dad went off to work and mom raised the kids.

So here I am, pushing 50.  I'm certainly not the Christian my mom is.  But nearly everything I learned of values I learned from her.  When I judge anyone's beliefs, values, or morals, it is my mother I weigh them against.

My mother, because of her age, her geography, her upbringing and her religion, believes homosexuality is a sin:  "It says so in the Bible."

But when it comes to marriage (or any other civil rights) my mother believes in equality:  "What right do I have to impose my beliefs on others?"

Christians, Jews, religious people of all stripes, agnostics and atheists:  This is the standard I will hold you to.  Believe what you will.  But defend the rights of others!  That is, after all, the American way.

----------------------------------------

Thank you, Mom.  I couldn't have asked for a better.

Originally posted to koseighty on Sat May 12, 2012 at 06:29 PM PDT.

Also republished by Personal Storytellers.

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Comment Preferences

  •  If only that attitude could be bottled...nt. (7+ / 0-)

    Trickle-down theory; the less than elegant metaphor that if one feeds the horse enough oats, some will pass through to the road for the sparrows. - J.K. Galbraith

    by Eric Twocents on Sat May 12, 2012 at 06:49:00 PM PDT

  •  Sounds like a good mom. Wish her happy (6+ / 0-)

    Mothers' Day from me!

    Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

    by Wee Mama on Sat May 12, 2012 at 06:56:18 PM PDT

  •  I'll rise to the atheist "bait" just to say that (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    koseighty

    one should be careful not to confuse "defending the right of others" with "not challenging the beliefs of others".  I think most atheists believe strongly that everyone has a right to believe what they want.  But that doesn't mean that others do not have a right to question those views.

  •  Acceptance is all of a sudden (4+ / 0-)

    all things conservative and christian. As a big unapologetic homo who has spent his life being hounded by folks like you and Mom, curiously peppering me with questions as to why I'm not "normal", usually in public, with like my boss watching on pins and needles, and say, his brother who is an outlaw biker "Christian" within earshot taking mental notes carefully.

     I just want to ask you this: When the right sold this populist Reagan hate way back when, and you were in that camp throwing rocks, or at least turning your head to appear "normal", did you ever think "we won't be fooled again"? remember that song? Cause I have to ask you brother, really? You won't?

     There are Repub memos circulating as we speak drafted with almost identical memes to your sentiments expressed in this diary. I'm speaking of culture warring populist trolls who engage in the following:

    I got sucked into a troll feeding frenzy.  I have no one to blame but myself.  You know how it goes:  a few strong, but not extreme, comments get you responding and you turn around two hours later to find you've just spent all that time cooking and stocking a Las Vegas-style buffet for a cave-dwelling, bridge-claiming troll.
    Christian Americans aren't "good" to us LGBTs, never have been, and if you all want to come out of the woodwork now and to soften us for an election, you're gonna have to make it believable.

     Otherwise, a lifetime of experience tells me my best and most dedicated efforts are and will be forever the dog's dinner and an annoyance to me, let alone anyone else. Especially you. And BTW, I wasn't there, but sorry about your two hours wasted on "trolls". I'm verklempt.

     

    I will push back, rise up, and speak out against all forms of discrimination that plague our community. www.getequal.org

    by teloPariah on Sun May 13, 2012 at 01:44:02 AM PDT

    •  Perceptive observations and reasoned response (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      koseighty, teloPariah, ladybug53, maf1029

      teloPariah needs be congratulated for exceptional comments. Re-ringing Reagan's repub bell is the history we shouldn't forget least we condemn ourselves to another round of their [bleep].
      So, here's to koseighty's bible believing mom on mom's special day and an equally strong shout out to teloPariah's vilgilence.

      "Damn the Regressives, full speed ahead!"- paraphrasing Rear Adm David Farragut's command at Battle of Mobile Bay

      by Nautical Knots on Sun May 13, 2012 at 06:01:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  teloPariah, (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      teloPariah, ladybug53, Belle Ame

      I have not walked in your shoes, so there is no way I can imagine the pain and suffering you have endure at the hands of so-called christians.

      You don't know me or my mom, so I'll not take personal offense at your comments.  It's obvious that in trying to keep the diary short and simple, I kept it too short and too simple.  I'll try to introduce myself and my mom in a bit more detail.

      ---------------

      First, when I refer to my mother as a christian, I mean to say that she represents the best of my understanding of christianity.  

      I have never once in my 50 years heard her speak of any minority or other religion in a derogatory manor.  That includes the LGBT community.  She never pulled us back as children when we encountered "different" people as you see some parents do.  

      She never told us not to play or associate with "those" people.  Growing up in small town America, I saw it a lot.  Parents telling their children not to play with the new black family that just moved in.  Or Jehovah's Witnesses, or Mormons, or Native Americans, or kids of the woman with the reputation, etc., etc.  I think the worst I saw growing up was when a Navajo man moved to town with his caucasian wife.  A black family was one thing, a mixed family was too much!

      But my mother's thing was (and still is) block parties.  And everyone was always invited and everyone was made to feel welcome (at least by my mother).  Joe (the Navajo man) and his wife (I forget her name now) were welcome at our house.  Not only for block parties but for dinner and games and barbecues.  And we were invited to his.  (He made amazing boiled potatoes during barbecue season in a dutch oven filled with beer.)

      In recent years I've seen my mother struggle with the very idea that homosexuality (or "different" gender identity) is a "sin."  I didn't mention it in the diary simply because I didn't consider it the point.  But perhaps it is.  Perhaps because she struggles with such things makes her the atypical christian lady I admire so much.

      My mother lived through the Civil Rights movement.  And all the family stories agree, in a conservative small town community, she was always the voice saying "of course all people should be treated equally."  Now she's seeing a second Civil Rights movement and her stance hasn't changed.

      You speak of conservative plans to change tack on this issue.  Perhaps there are.  All I can speak to is to my mom's genuine conviction that all people should be treated equally.

      As we've seen with race equality, it's a long and difficult road.  That effort was not over with laws allowing interracial marriage.  The current effort will not end with marriage equality.  But each of these things is an important step.  The more people are treated equally, the more people will begin to see them as equal.

      Again, I don't know what "traps" the conservatives are laying.  But my mom just thinks people should be able to marry whom they love, be able to go about their lives not being bullied, to have jobs without fear of losing them, to live and love and be happy.

      And that's why I consider her my hero.

      ------------------

      As for me.  My road has been considerably more bumpy.  

      Raised by amazing parents, I thought everything they did must be right.  

      I grew up an ardent christian.  (It must be 100% right because my parents wouldn't lie to me.)  

      In my teens and early twenties I was an aggressive apologist.  (My parents encouraged learning and an inquisitive mind.  I was taught science was the study of what god had made, and if the findings of science differed from belief than it was because god was concerned with our souls.  The bible told us that god created heaven and earth, but doesn't mention how.)  I reacted to my quest for knowledge in both science and religion by becoming very good at twisting both into compliance.

      My thirties were spent being less active in my church as my doubts and understanding increased.

      In my forties I finally admitted to myself that what I knew and believed was very much at odds with mainstream christianity.  The thing that pushed me over the edge was the zeal with which my family (not my parents), friends, and neighbors applauded the Bush wars and the equal zeal with which they fought LGBT rights.  This was completely opposite to everything I had learned of christ and what I consider christianity.

      I now consider myself an atheist and recovering christian.  (But that is a much longer, convoluted, and distracting story.)

      ---------------

      As to the troll I found myself feeding.  Go back through my comments (starting with "Don't Forget Why...") and you will see the troll in question was (at least posing as) a christian in opposition to gay rights.

      ---------------

      Again, teloPariah, I can't begin to understand your pain.  But believe me when I say, in our small sphere and with all our hearts my mother and I are on your side.

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