And how I’m dealing with it
My aunt posted a meme yesterday. It showed President Obama talking to Jesus Christ. Obama is complaining that Donald Trump reversed all of his policies. Jesus replies “Well you reversed all of mine, that’s why I sent Trump.”
Let me start off with a little background. My family and friends are mostly Mormon. They have deep religious beliefs and live by a strict set of guidelines for themselves. They don’t drink, smoke, or watch R-rated movies. They hold sexual purity (no sex until marriage and complete fidelity afterward) at the very top of their religious priorities. Displaying honesty and integrity in all parts of their lives is taught from the time they’re toddlers.
I have a deep respect for their religious ideals. I spent my adolescence in Mormonism and can appreciate some of the core values I came away with from my time there.
As an adult, my views have changed. I’ve become increasingly more liberal as I’ve experienced more of life and met more people.
My biggest most radical change came when I fell in love with a woman. That really was the tipping point for me. I held on to some of those Mormon values and had to let some of them go.
I want to make it clear that although my religion strongly opposed it, I was always in support of gay marriage. I was married to a man, and really had no interest in women at the time. I was most definitely a radical in my social and religious circle with my support of Prop 8 at the time, and it was hard to be different.
I felt strongly that, regardless of my personal religious beliefs, every person is qualified and deserving of the same rights. And, that as an American citizen each of us is entitled to Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. To me, marriage definitely falls under the pursuit of Happiness bit. Thus, gay marriage had my full support.
I had many emotionally charged conversations with friends and family about how gay marriage goes against God’s laws.
If Mormons have one thing, it is strong convictions. And if yours don’t line up with theirs, well they’ll tell you about it. It’s really really hard to be a liberal Mormon. So hard, in fact, that most liberal Mormons end up leaving the religion eventually. There is not much room for diversity in political thought.
So as you can imagine, this election has been an absolute shit-show. The memes, the Trump flags, the religious comments left on my posts endorsing Joe Biden. The calls to repentance for supporting baby killing.
And now that “it’s over”, the incessant posts about election stealing, the world being deceived, and one particularly strong comment about having defiled God when we defiled Trump. Seriously, I’m not making this stuff up.
There are a lot of hard parts about being surrounded by Trump supporters. One of the big ones is that they seem to genuinely ignore facts. When presented with information that they don’t agree with (even when it’s fact-checked or backed up with audio or video recording), they boldly declare that Biden has paid the fact-checkers, that the audio has been doctored, or that the video was taken out of context. They outright refuse to accept information that does not support their beliefs.
Even more difficult and disturbing is their use of scriptures and religion to justify their support for Donald Trump. The people don’t watch rated R movies. Yet, they will openly support a man that has admitted to grabbing women by the pussies. I asked my aunt about this stark double standard, and she answered with: “Donald Trump has not been given the fullness of the gospel, so he’s not upheld to the same standards as we are.”
In Mormon language, this means, that because he isn’t a Mormon he doesn’t know the whole truth like they do. And because of this, they’re basically okay with him not living like a Christian. (Remember, however, they think God sent him to save the world from all the sinning we’re doing).
I physically can’t even type any more of the asinine things people have said to me regarding Trump and religion. It causes a physical reaction in me. So much frustration and anger in fact, that I have had to consciously block it from my memory.
At first, I tried reasoning with them by providing unbiased facts that I checked personally using the Associated Press. When that didn’t work, I tried using the only thing they seemed to listen to, the scriptures. Arguing that Jesus Christ’s ministry was based on inclusion, serving the poor, and amongst other things, fighting for equal rights for all despite their religious beliefs or “sins”. When I suggested this, my aunt told me that I should seek clarity regarding Jesus’ life and that I needed to read my scriptures more.
Mostly, I’m sad. My family can’t support me in my relationship because they (and I quote) “don’t want to appear like they accept the gay lifestyle”. But, they’ll proudly fly a TRUMP flag and go-rounds with me defending his good name. So his lifestyle I guess is acceptable, and mine is not.
I’m sad that his character means nothing to them. I’m sad that, although religion guides everything they do, they can’t see the disconnect between what they believe and how they're voting. I am sincerely trying to understand them, and I can’t. I can’t figure it out, and it’s making me actually lose my mind a little bit.
So how am I dealing with it? I’m not. I have been an emotional wreck for weeks. I’ve gone back and forth. First, deciding never to post anything political or engage in a political discussion again, and then realizing that I need to hold my ground and not let religious bullying quiet my convictions.
One thing is for sure. I hope they recount. I hope they recount every damn vote and prove that there was no foul play and that the American people have spoken.
I know that my family won’t trust the recount. They’ll never accept the fact that they’ve lost. They’ll cry injustice and ignore every credible result that comes in.
I know I can’t change their minds. I know they won’t listen to reason, science, real facts, or even true Christianity. Nothing I do or say will be considered as anything more than me just being confused and deceived.
So for tonight, I am choosing to stay the course. Plant my feet deep in my beliefs regardless of the absolute nonsensical bullshit that others throw at me.
Here’s your charge to do the same. Do not let loved ones, friends, and acquaintances intimidate, guilt, or shame you for your beliefs in the name of religion.
Keep speaking up, keep fighting for equality for all Americans. God Speed.