HAHABT: Give Me That Old-Time Religion

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HAHABT 2015May 17th is the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia, and just in case you’re wondering about the title of this post, it’s the name of a song by Fisk Jubilee Singers from 1837. You can listen to it here or at the end of this post where I’ll embed it and make it easy for everyone.

The title of this post pretty much does what it says on the tin. It is no less apt from my contribution to the Hop Against Homophobia, Bi- and Transphobia this year.

I live in the Deep South of the USA, like this place bleeds Red, White and Blue ‘MURICA. You can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a church or a Walmart.

I came out during the ever so delightful period I was told under no uncertain terms I was not welcome in the House of God, and I had a first class ticket to Hell. That’s okay. I’m bringing the marshmallows. But now things have changed, or are changing. Churches are getting more progressive and seeing indeed love is love.

In my area? Not so much. There are six churches on my street alone and all of their signage gets pretty depressing sometimes.

I write for Dreamspinner Press, and their mainstream line DSP Publications. I write books with gay protagonists. Sometimes they kiss. Sometimes parts touch. Most of the time they’re punching bad guys in the face and there’s a fuckton of explosions.

Despite all that, I co-exist just ducky with my fellow Southerners. I am a transplant from the North, and quite proud of it. For those of you from elsewhere in the world, I am what is called a Yankee. In the South, because I am a permanent resident, I am a Damned Yankee. During the US Civil War, the South lost, the North won. And I have many of the older generation of Southerners that like to remind me of that bitterly.

I am very proud of what I do. And everyone I meet is always very excited to know an author. An international bestselling one at that! In their excitement, because I’m three seconds away from making a sale, they ask me what I write. I tell them straight up. Why hide it?

Surprisingly, most reactions have been positive. Or in awe that LGBTQ+ books are a thing.

But.

Then you get the phrase we all dread. You know the one. The one that goes:

“Well, I was raised a Christian…”

My first reaction for many years had been, “Uh oh. ABORT! ABORT!

I’d politely slink away only for them to follow at my heels and try to forcibly convert me on the spot.

Now, my reaction is to stare them right in the eye and say, “And?”

You’d be surprised how that stops a person cold. I don’t bother to challenge them with facts of homosexuality not being mentioned in the Bible. Or the details about shellfish, or mixed fibers, or slavery, and so on. Why throw the rhetoric back at them? Why stir the fire and challenge their world view? I am no less qualified to challenge them then they are to challenge me. Neither of us are going to budge. And that’s okay. In fact, I find faith quite beautiful, and a lot of my characters have some form of faith in their fictional worlds.

So. I get:

“Well, I was raised a Christian…”

And my response:

“And water’s wet and stars twinkle. And?”

Just last Saturday, I got the spiel twice in one day. You heard me.

I got “The Conversation” in the middle of shopping at Office Depot.

Office. Depot.

Yes.

There I was, actually printing a copy of Chasing Sunrise for revisions. A woman in line in front of me asks me how I’m doing. I respond “Good.” and smile and nod. Do the kindly thing. That is it.

And BAM. She put a pamphlet in my hand and is giving me the sales pitch and offers the formal invite to her church and finding God.

In. Office. Depot.

Later that afternoon at a birthday party, the host introduces me to one of his friends. The host and I were in a critique group together and is very proud and supportive of what I do. In fact, Pawn Takes Rook, my very first book is dedicated to him.

And then the friend goes….yup. You guessed it. That candied phrase.

Why does it have to matter? It’s a double standard. Why is it Mormons can come to my door (with a very clear no soliciting sign) and want to spread the word of their Savior, and I can’t go door to door and spread the word of the LGBT community?

Oh. Right. In the US there’s that pesky freedom of religion thing which basically any religious party uses as an exemption from everything.

Case in point. Absolutely unprompted, I can get the sermon in Panera Bread while eating lunch.

That happened.

I can get approached in a bookstore.

That happened.

The mall.

The movies.

Even while my car is stopped at the light.

All of them. All of them happened.

Is this really necessary? Really?

I’d like to think I’m a good person. I know right from wrong. I don’t kill babies. I dote on my cats and have my vet on speed dial every time one of them sneezes. My vet also thinks I’m a wee overprotective. I’m a very positive person. Does this make me any less “good?”

Is it a good person that comes up to you while you are trying to check out in an office supply store and tries to convince you to come to their church the next morning?

Is it a good person that approaches you at a restaurant while you have food in your face and tell you how the Lord saved them from drinking and drugs?

If anything, my first thought is I don’t even know their names, and they could likely be ax murders. I just want to be able to buy my pens and my lunch without being harassed because I…somehow look like someone that looks like they need saving. It’s my hair probably. It’s three colors. It’s always my hair. I can tell you stories about airport security.

Like I can’t randomly walk up to J. Random stranger and tell them how awesome dudes being in love is and push my books into their hands. Or give them the whole sales pitch. That’s plain rude.

It is rude. Didn’t anyone teach them Do Onto Others As They Would Do To You?

Oh. Wait. They do. Only they Do Onto Others fully expecting the reciprocation part.

So when someone gets all excited to ooooh aaah know an author and they’re three seconds away from buying my books on their phones, they ask what do I write.

I answer.

“Well, I was raised a—”

“And? My parents tell me the Mothership left me behind.”

“That’s funny.”

“And so are my books. I’m sure you’ll like them.”

“You’re pretty cool.”

“Thanks. I think you’re pretty cool too.”

And now, I leave you with some Old-Time Religion. Grab your hymnals and sing along. Yes, sir.

 


 

GIVEAWAY!

One lucky winner will walk away with a loverly $10.00 USD DSP Gift Certificate!

And you say, how do I enter to win such a remarkable prize?

And I say unto thee, since I’m sharing a song, share with me a song that you particularly like and why. If you can find it on YouTube, drop in the link in the comments.

Also please, please leave me your email address! I want to be able to find you!

The winner will be chosen on May 24th!


 

Hop on to these other awesome blogs!

39 Comments Add yours

  1. Bronwyn Heeley says:

    Hm… Im a big fan of The Rubans at the moment, i can pick one sone tho (can even think of names at the moment)

    Really liked the post
    Beeheeley(@)gmail(.)com

    1. Lex says:

      Thanks Bronwyn! 😀

  2. I’m actually okay with some solicitation, like handing out pamphlets and promotional items. I received a lovely gift bag a few years ago from a new church, and it was filled with nice items like soap, a candle, and things I could use around the house.

    Why are you considered a Yankee if you live in the South? What do you mean by permanent resident?

    My favorite song…hm. I will inspire groans if I say Let it Go, I am sure. 😀

    1. Lex says:

      Now a gift bag sounds awesome and a very kind gesture. 😀 But when you’re sitting at Panera Bread by yourself eating and someone comes up to you with “Can I ask you something?” and you think it’s to share your power outlet only to get “Do you know the word of Jesus?” Like no. That is not okay. That is just plain rude. Considering the conversation went on for an hour and a half despite my repeated polite pokes of really needing to work, or needing to get home. Also my food went cold and uneaten as well.

      What it boils down to is if I’m invited into their space, that is awesome. If I invite them into my space, that’s awesome too. But for both of us disregarding our personal spaces and just barging in, that is inappropriate.

      I’m a Yankee because I’m not from here originally. 😀 I was born in Maine. As North in the US you can go before you hit Canada. Woot woot! Yankee Pride. (Not to be confused with the candles.) 😀 I’m a permanent resident because I’ve lived here since I was 8. My family’s here, and while I’d like to move someday it isn’t really bad. Just sometimes annoying. 😀

      1. An hour and a half?? Okay, that’s a game changer. I was picturing a couple of minutes. Never mind…totally inappropriate!

        Have you been tempted to say something like, “I’d love to talk with you about the love of Jesus, but I have to ask the voices inside my head whether it’s okay?”

        Or *ducks as lightning bolts rain down upon my head* “I love Jesus, but I wish he’d use some lube.”

        Kidding. Sort of.

        LOL Candle pride!

  3. parisfanca says:

    right now i adore ‘love runs out’ by one republic. i live in canada and it still suprizes me how uptight the U.S. south still is. i do a bit of pet sitting (lots more when i was younger) and some of my BEST clients are the LGBTQ set. i find they take are FAR nicer than some of my fellow HET counterparts and tip a WHOLLLLLLLLLE lot better. and yet my fellow HETS will bitch and moan about the other side w/o getting to know them which is totally sad and pathetic cuz from what i have learned ya can’t judge a book by somebodys sexuality

    1. Lex says:

      I love the crap out of ‘Love Runs Out’ such a good song. Oh no. The South is just… special. My particular pocket of it has a good group of welcoming people. But let’s just say the N-word and the F-gg-t-word are still a very common thing. Confederate flags still fly (the Confederate flag according to some has been deemed as an icon of racism) It’s not worth it to confront any of them. In some cases it could get violent. I’ll just smile and nod, because around here who knows who’s carrying.

  4. machurch00 says:

    Yup, born and raised in the deep South. I know exactly what you’re talking about and the things that happened to you? I can absolutely believe. My fav song is No More Tears by Ozzy Osbourne. My email is… ready lol? nomoretears00 at hotmail dot com
    ~M

    1. Lex says:

      Totally. Like I was telling Anastasia it’s totally fine if it’s like a five second exchange and neither party expects the other to follow through. But when they follow you to your car and prevent you from leaving for 20 or 30 minutes, or sit next to you at a movie theater, it comes off more like a very rude ambush and not at all like a kindly gesture.

      Or when it starts with what seems to be a perfectly normal question like “How’s the weather?” or “Can you pass me those napkins?” or “I love your shirt! Where did you get it?” The last one is soooo loaded. Because I get it a lot, because some people actually want to know but for others it gives them an in because it takes time to explain.

      The best one I got was when I managed to get IN my car and they continued to talk which in turn blocked me from leaving because I didn’t want to run them over. And they knew I wouldn’t, and that was their chance to keep going. 😐

  5. KimberlyFDR says:

    Thank you for your post and participating in this blog hop. I tend to fluctuate on favorite songs, but I do wear out the Dirty Dancing soundtrack quite a bit 😀

    kimberlyFDR@yahoo.com

    1. Lex says:

      Thanks for being here Kimberly. Dirty Dancing is the soundtrack of my childhood. I have fond memories of singing into my hairbrush.

  6. sionedkla says:

    I am on a HUGE Hozier kick right now. I have yet to not really like a song on the whole album and it plays on repeat in the car.

    One of my more faves though is the Work Song:

    https://youtu.be/nH7bjV0Q_44

    sionedkla@gmail.com

    1. Lex says:

      I have to be the last person on the planet to just now discover Hozier. Now I see what all the fuss is about! 😀

  7. Jen CW says:

    I grew up in the Midwest, so we didn’t have a lot of that happening. However, my friend moved to North Carolina for a while and it drove her nuts how hard it was to make friends (even in a college town) because she wasn’t religious and didn’t attend a church. The fact that she had a motorcycle and truck branded her a lesbian by a lot of people without ever talking to her. My song is I Disappear by Metallica: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYSDC3cHoZs

    jczlapin@gmail.com

    1. Lex says:

      Exactly Jen. And in my conservative little town, my tri-colored hair and outspokeness can go one of two ways. Lets just say it ends up with a lot of whispering and not bringing up things in “polite” conversation.

  8. Lee Todd says:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MYSVMgRr6pw

    Take Me To Church by Hozier

    leetee2007(at)hotmail(dot)com

  9. debby236 says:

    I like Afternoon Delight. It makes me smile
    debby236 at gmail dot com

  10. Danny says:

    I have four favorite songs. I see fire by Ed Sheeran, Lost it all by Black Veil Brides, Castle of Glass by Linkin Park and Take me to church by Hoozier

  11. Angela says:

    It is sad that in this day we still need to raise awareness let’s hope that in the near future we will all be treated like equals 🙂

    One of my favorite songs is The Power of Love by Jennifer Rush.

    In may 2002 i got married to my (now) husband, and the band who played at our wedding called us to them and we were seated in a chair and the female singer started to sing The Power of Love to us, beautiful i still get goose bumps when i think about it 🙂

    Because i was born as a heterosexual female it was never a question if i could get married, it was simply finding the right man (not always simple i know) and then it wouldn’t be a problem.

    Thankfully nowadays there are country’s two men or two women can get married (my own country included) but sadly it is not possible everywhere.

    So thank you for participating in this blogtour.

    ahpg(at)ziggo(dot)nl

    1. Lex says:

      Thank you for your story Angela! That sounds like a lovely moment. 😀

  12. H.B. says:

    Right now I’m stuck on Celebrate by Mika ft. Pharrell
    it sounds really upbeat and I feel like it encourages growth.

    humhumbum AT yahoo DOT com

    1. Lex says:

      I have such a problem with Pharrell. The problem is his songs are so infectious and you can’t help but smile. But the other is it never gets out of your head. LOL

  13. Trix says:

    Sloan’s “The Answer Was You” makes me squee a little, and Badfinger’s “Know One Knows” stops me dead in my tracks. That’s just today…I’ve always got some song on my mind.

    vitajex(at)aol(Dot)com

    1. Lex says:

      I know the feeling Trix! Or the worst part is you wake up in the morning with only a few bars of a movie score in your head. I listen to a crapton of scores, and it’s terrible when you’re trying to figure out where you heard it. D:

  14. Penumbra says:

    Pachebel’s Canon with Ocean, because it calms me and puts me in a happy place 🙂

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3AdO0b0Gtzo

    penumbrareads(at)gmail(dot)com

    1. Lex says:

      Pachebel’s Canon is always a classic. It goes with everything. 😀 Did you ever see Blues Traveler did a song called “The Hook” and it was straight up Pachebel’s Canon. It was a dig at music fans that they’d buy anything if it was catchy enough regardless of content. Clever! 😀

  15. Erica Pike says:

    And they say LGBT people have an agenda… I don’t think I’d be able to live in the South because of this. I’ve heard of some Mormons knocking on people’s doors here in Iceland (they’re a very small group here – we’re talking less than 200 people the last I knew), and Jehovah’s Witnesses (less than 700 people), but they’ve never knocked on my door. Here, people would complain about invasion of privacy. And it applies to all who knock on the door with any kind of sales pitch, or call in the evening to sell magazine subscriptions. We do get knocks and calls from people selling stuff, but it isn’t very often. Maybe a few times a year. I still hate it though >..< It's rude.

    Anyway! Not taking part in any giveaways this year. Just wanted to throw my thoughts out there 😉 Thanks for taking part in the hop!

    1. Lex says:

      Thanks Erica! Always glad to take part! In the US we have a Do Not Call List that you have to renew every five years. Of course once it lapses, it starts over again.

      It’s to the point that I don’t know why my family has a landline anymore. My Dad lets it ring once and then just hang up. Sadly, I miss a lot of my appointment reminders that way. 😐 Grrrr!

  16. Katherine says:

    “Star in the East” as sung by Rose Ensemble. It is a comfort song in my household. Like chocolate chip cookies are a comfort food.

    I am sorry to hear about an hour and a half and your food getting cold.

    toastmasterkatherine at gmail dot com

    1. Lex says:

      If a song can be compared to chocolate chip cookies I am ALL IN. 😀

      Thank you so much! And it was a hot sandwhich too! No one likes congealed cheese, cold roast beef, and stale bread. D:

  17. jenf27 says:

    I’ve never had strangers approach me like that, but have had coworkers try to “witness” to me, which is so totally inappropriate for many reasons. Luckily it was over the phone, so I just did other things and said nothing and they tailed off after a few minutes. We also have people come to our door to proselytize and that surprises me since I live out in the boondocks – they must be pretty desperate to drive out here – not a big concentration of houses to drive time. I usually tell them I am too busy and just shut the door. I know it is rude, but I think it is rude for them to interrupt my day with stuff I do not want to hear or read.

    My favorite song right now is Myth by Keane. I love their music overall and this song tells a poignant story to me.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K64_KdHdpdE

    jen(dot)f(at)mac(dot)com

    1. Lex says:

      True story: When Mormons come to my door one of my cats loses her mind and goes into Halloween Kitty Mode. But only Mormons. Nothing against them at all! My cat must have had a past life or something where something happened. HAH!

  18. JT says:

    LOL. Your post hits every nail on the head! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    My favorite song right now is:
    Ella Jenkins
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KTmoAobX5mY

    JT

    1. Lex says:

      Thanks JT! 😀

  19. lol Im so hearing you there. Religion. *shakes head* Ive had people argue on my door step about it. Boy does that get fun. Some people are way to judge. I love your reactions. I think its fantastic the way you embrace! If someone finds happiness, grab on with both hands and screw anyone who doesnt like it. Thats there problem. Everyone should just be happy! I just heard this song! Makes me happy! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s3bksUSPB4c
    shadowluvs2read(at)gmail(dot)com

    1. Lex says:

      I think whatever makes you happy is a very good thing to have. My Weight Watchers leader is a former Christian motivational speaker, and just listening to her give the weekly lesson makes me incredibly happy. As long as you don’t kick puppies and mind each other’s boundaries, everything is perfectly gravy. 😀

  20. bn100 says:

    stronger by Kelly Clarkson for the lyrics

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

  21. sherry1969 says:

    One of my favorite songs is When I Get Where I’m Going by Brad Paisley.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yYHT-TF4KO4
    sstrode at scrtc dot com

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