Maybe We Should Start a Religion?
by Mila Madison
It can be a belief in a higher power or something greater than all of us. For some, faith can get them through difficult situations. It can provide answers to the unknown, even if that answer is not based on facts. When faith, or a belief, is shared by many it can create a movement. It has power to influence others. Sadly, like anything organized, it can also become corrupted and used to do harm to others.
Webster’s defines faith as follows:
1.complete trust or confidence in someone or something. -“this restores one’s faith in politicians”
2.strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.
Recently, Pope Francis released a post-synodal apostolic exhortation titled, “Amoris Laetitia,” Latin for “The Joy of Love”. The 256-page document discusses the role of families within the Roman Catholic Church. Though the Pope preached kindness towards the LGBT community, he fell short of true acceptance on the subject of gay marriage by proclaiming, “there are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family”. Most alarming was his proclamation towards the transgender community. “The young need to be helped to accept their own body as it was created, for “thinking that we enjoy absolute power over our own bodies turns, often subtly, into thinking that we enjoy absolute power over creation.” the document proclaims. He goes on to say, “Only by losing the fear of being different, can we be freed of self-centeredness and self-absorption. Sex education should help young people to accept their own bodies and to avoid the pretension “to cancel out sexual difference because one no longer knows how to deal with it”.
“TO SAY THAT A TRANSGENDER PERSON IS “SELF-ABSORBED” AND THAT THEY SHOULD LEARN HOW TO SIMPLY ACCEPT DYSPHORIA IS IRRESPONSIBLE.”
Though the Pope’s proclamations are disappointing, they were not unexpected. The problem is that this demonstrates a total lack of understanding of what transgender is. To say that a transgender person is “self-absorbed” and that they should learn how to simply accept dysphoria is irresponsible. This would be the same as telling someone who has cancer to simply accept it and do nothing about it. Is it being self absorbed to want to exist? What if you have a family to take care of? Being transgender is often a life or death predicament. Is one self-absorbed if they decide to transition in order to deal with this dysphoria so they may keep providing for their families? Are we saying it is better to be dead in the wrong identity rather than to be alive in the right one? Is that what is best for a family?
We have to understand where these views come from. The Catholic Church is a business. The Vatican bank manages close to 8 billion dollars. They have over 20 million dollars worth of gold in the United States Federal Reserve. The GDP of the Vatican per capita is $365,796. This makes it the richest state in the world. They can effectively end world poverty should they choose to, however they do not. I beg to ask, who is self absorbed here?
The truth is that religious organizations have power and influence. They have money. Look at The American Family Association. They are the Christian based non-profit organization behind the boycott Target initiative. They raise close to 30 million dollars a year to fund their causes and it is all tax free. There are hundreds of organizations such as this. Though it is deemed illegal for non-profits to engage in political activity, they find ways to get around it.
“FOR A GROUP TO FEEL LIKE THEY HAVE THE MORAL HIGH GROUND, THERE HAS TO BE SOMEONE WHO IS CONSIDERED THE LOW GROUND.”
What these organizations have are followers. Though their ranks are diminishing they still have influence. The AFA alone has over 2 million followers. There are 1.2 billion Roman Catholics in the world. Coming out in full support for the LGBT community could be bad for business. For a group to feel like they have the moral high ground, there has to be someone who is considered the low ground. Unfortunately to most Christian organizations, that low ground is LGBT. Now that the Gay and Lesbian community is gaining more acceptance, the focus has been turning towards the transgender community.
So maybe we need to start a religion? A transgender organization, which raises money to combat the discriminatory acts of hate groups. We can influence legislation. We can deny services to bigots because it would violate our “religious” beliefs to do so. We were only looking for equal rights, but maybe we should go for those extra rights that religious groups have? You know the tax-free dollars and all that? We could have our own pope. How about Laverne Cox? She is pretty awesome. We could force bigots to use special “bigot” restrooms by passing meaningless laws. We can secure our rights under the notion of “religious liberty”. Sounds kind of ridiculous doesn’t it? Well it is.
Our forefathers were concerned about this very thing. That is why we have a constitution and the separation of church and state. Though these organizations have the right to exist, we must remember they are still a business. If you want to see someone’s true intention just follow the money. The people who run these operations take a good salary for their efforts. They use faith as a way to motivate their followers and to keep the paychecks coming. Just remember you do not have to agree with them to be a person of faith. You can still be a Catholic and disagree with the pope. No one can tell you what your faith should be or how you should practice it. Though these groups will spend countless amounts of money to try and deny us our rights, we have to have faith that we will prevail. Like all other oppressed groups before us, our battle will eventually reach the Supreme Court. We just have to keep fighting for it. I have faith we will get there.
“I HAVE FAITH THAT WE SHALL OVERCOME THOSE THAT OPPRESS US.”
And yes, I consider myself a person of “faith”, but for me that means love. I have faith in us, our community. I have faith in my friends and family. I have faith that we shall overcome those that oppress us. I believe everyone has the right to be who they are whether they are Christian, transgender or anything else. I will always be on the side of their rights whether I disagree with them or not.
Stay safe and keep fighting for all of us!
Love and Peace,