Gretchen L. Kelly, Author

I Don’t Need To Respect Your Beliefs

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Right now everyone’s talking about beliefs. Beliefs that prompted the infamous Religious Freedom Act in Indiana last year, and last week’s Georgia’s Religious Freedom Bill and most recently North Carolina’s wide reaching and shocking HB 2, along with other similar initiatives that are peppering the country. Laws and bills aimed at limiting or taking away rights.

It’s supposedly all about beliefs. A conversation that has echoes of the not too distant past. Beliefs that are being recycled but not repurposed. A hand me down with historical context.

Beliefs are being held up and declared all while clutched in sweaty, angry fists. Beliefs are being trotted out like a prize pig at a State Fair.

So much talk of beliefs. And we all know that talk is the cheapest currency.

All of this talk is treading on some sacred ground. Beliefs (especially the religious kind) are for most of us a taboo subject. We don’t discuss them, we don’t engage in debate about them. Just try to bring it up on FaceBook and watch the insults fly and the defriending begin. No, we prefer to leave others to their beliefs and quietly go about living our lives guided by our own.

Most of us, that is.

Others? Well, they like to scream their beliefs in the faces of those who dare stand up to bigotry. Spittle forming in their taut mouth as they spout their reasons for the taking away of rights from others.

So what’s a respectful equality loving person to do when we see beliefs being molded into a vehicle for injustice and discrimination? What do we do when we see someone using their beliefs to leave people out, to treat them differently? When it’s affecting people’s rights to rent an apartment or a home? People’s rights to access to anything and everything that most of us take for granted. People’s rights to patronize a business? Sound familiar?

Do we sit quietly out of politeness and deference to said beliefs?

I have been struggling with this. I don’t want to step on anyone’s faith or beliefs. It’s not my way. But this conversation needs to happen and it doesn’t have to turn into debates over beliefs.

I don’t care about your beliefs.

I’m not here to trample your beliefs. I’m not here to comment on anyone’s beliefs.

I don’t feel like your beliefs are any of my business.

I don’t feel the need to say that I respect your beliefs.

It’s not my place to evaluate or determine whether your beliefs are worthy of respect.

Because I don’t care about your beliefs.

I care about your actions.

I care about how you treat the people you come in contact with every day.

I care about how you treat people you may not agree with.

Your beliefs? Who am I to judge them? They are for you to wrestle with and to determine.

If you are my neighbor, my friend, my boss, my congressman? I don’t care if you’re Christian or Jewish or Muslim or Buddhist or Atheist. Your beliefs are not my business nor my concern.

Beliefs are something that may guide you to live life with integrity and compassion. Or beliefs can be something you can carry around in your back pocket and pull out at any moment to justify actions. The difference boils down to character.

I’m interested in the fairness and compassion and empathy you do or do not express to your brothers and sisters of all faiths, all sexes, all races, all sexual orientations.

If you have to justify your behavior with your beliefs? That I can’t respect. Your beliefs are inconsequential. Your actions are the mark of your character. Making excuses or justification is just a lazy way to explain bad behavior. To pat yourself on the back as you step on the backs of others. If that’s your standard operating procedure, then I don’t respect you.

If you think you are better than others because of your beliefs? Then I can’t respect you. If you judge the lifestyle of other good people just trying to make it in this harsh world? Then I can’t respect you. If you cloak your compassion in judgmental pity? Then I can’t respect you. If you only lend a helping hand to others under the condition that they have to listen to your beliefs and subscribe to them? Then I can’t respect you.

If you are using beliefs to justify inequality? Then maybe you should check your beliefs. Because this is an old song and most of us are tired of hearing the tune. There was a time when beliefs were used as justification for unequal and in-humane and degrading treatment of black people in our country. Looking back I think we can all agree that it was a perversion of the beliefs that were held up as testimony. I think we can all agree that the beliefs that were co-opted and intertwined with vitriol were being abused and used as a cover for fear and hate.

Using beliefs to take away rights? Using beliefs to make a group of people less than? That’s ideology cloaked in fear and hate’s clothing. And it has the faint smell of disingenuousness. Don’t hide behind the safe and untouchable veil of your beliefs. Own your actions. Don’t pass the buck or the blame on to something you claim you hold sacred.

Here’s a little of what I believe.

I believe that equality is equality is equality.

No prerequisites. No conditions. No parameters.

I believe that compassion and caring and empathy for people who are not like you is one of the most important elements of our character.

I believe that actions speak louder than beliefs.


It’s really not that complicated.

I believe the loving people in this world far outnumber the fearful and hateful people.

I think most of us want to live peacefully and harmoniously with our brothers and sisters who are just trying to make it in this harsh world.

I do not buy into the politicization of beliefs. The co-opting and the twisting of ideals. The cult of fear and judgement.

If you look upon everyone who is different from you with contempt and fear and condemnation? Then you are going to be spending a lot more time in a dark place my friend. Because our world is becoming smaller. We are connected and exposed in ways never before possible. Thanks to our digital age, we hear from and see and meet people from all over.

Along with this connectedness comes lots of new. New ideas, new lifestyles, new perspectives, new experiences. There’s no turning back from the world we now inhabit, one that is becoming increasingly… one. So maybe now is a good time to open our minds and open our hearts. To accept all the differences that come with living amongst other people.

Maybe now is a good time to embrace the differences and learn to adapt to our changing world. Maybe now is a good time to operate with an open mind. To realize that your way may not always be the best way. That change is not always bad.

Maybe now is the time to stop using your beliefs as a shield against all that you fear. Maybe now is the time to realize that your beliefs belong to you. No one can take them from you. The lifestyle of others does not impact or change your beliefs. If someone else’s way of living affects your beliefs? Maybe now is the time to check the shaky ground upon which your beliefs are tenuously perched.

Maybe you will find that your beliefs shouldn’t cause you to mistreat or discriminate.

Maybe you will come to the conclusion that no good ever comes from taking away rights.

Maybe you’ll see that it’s not even about your beliefs.

It’s about your actions.

Maybe you’ll realize that it’s time to leave beliefs out of the equation.

Maybe we’ll all be better off for it.


** Author’s Note: This is a post I wrote last year in response to Indiana’s Religious Freedom Law. I am re-posting it today given the recent legislative actions in Georgia and North Carolina. If you would like to make your voice heard, use the hashtag #WeAreNotThis on Twitter and Facebook (hashtags and social media have proven very effective in raising awareness and enacting change.) If you are still concerned about Transgender people using the same restroom as you, please read these articles and learn more about what the NC law entails and what it is to be transgender.

80 Responses

    1. I adore you and your beautiful mind Darla. Thank you. I’m appalled at what my home state is doing right now. Actually, I’m pretty damn proud of the people. There’s a huge protest in front of the governor’s mansion right now. I’m appalled at the legislators who passed this bill.

  1. I don’t normally point out typos — read right through them – and I make plenty. But in that second paragraph up there you’ve got “distant path” when you clearly mean “past.” Only mentioning because it’s so early in the piece it slowed me down and it also changes the sense of what you are saying.

    I’ll have a comment on the substance once I am done reading.

  2. I was trying to figure out the whole time I was reading whether or not this was that post from last year, or if it was a new one.

    You’re right to focus on the behavior, because that’s the important part.

    Since you wrote this the first time around, I’ve come to a conclusion. What happens in many cases when you talk about racism, poverty, misogyny, or other such hot-button topics to people who are either insensitive to their privilege, or overly-sensitive to it is that they don’t hear what you are actually saying. What they hear instead is “You are a bad person and so is everyone who thinks like you.”

    It just escalates from there. It’s a case of people being “divide by a common language.” And it doesn’t help matters that plenty of smart people are willing to use beliefs to manipulate others for profit.

    “Religious liberty” is the new dogwhistle the so-called “conservatives” are using to attack LGBTQ+ equality and reproductive freedom. They’ve realized that they can’t frame their positions as “against” that stuff. So, what they do instead is say everyone who wants to discriminate and deny women control of their own bodies deserve to have their religious freedom respected.

    That’s a mockery of the First Amendment the way Tolkien’s Orcs are a mockery of Elves. It’s insidious.

    “Political Correctness” is their not-so-secret code for “Let’s tolerate public bigotry and make a bunch of policies that disadvantage everyone who isn’t white.”

    Good call reposting this today and sending it to that hashtag.

    1. Yes. The dog whistle. There are too many people who come running when that whistle is blown. And so many shut down and don’t pay attention to reason because they are coming from a place of anger or fear.

      Charlotte (my home town) voted for transgender protections. I was so proud of my city. But people lost their damn minds. Honestly, in this case, I think there is a huge misunderstanding about what it is to be transgender. And that old, antiquated, misguided notion that LGBT are deviants who will prey upon our children. So many people are fearful of what they don’t understand. And to be fair, the world is just starting to discuss and understand transgender. But there is also a lot of “God made you a man/woman and it’s a sin to change that” kind of talk going around. At the same time, I’m proud of the people of our state who are protesting and speaking out. Like you said, N.C. is a pink state. We’re more progressive than people realize. We have cities that are well educated and savvy. But then you have a lot of depressed areas that are stuck in poverty and lack of education.

      I think you should take your comment here and build on it and write an epic blog post. (Do you like how I’m always telling you to write? 😉 ) I honestly hate to reblog an old post of mine. It feels like cheating, but this was just too relevant this week.

    2. I am planning on writing a post about all this soon. I very much dislike talking about religion on the internet, but at this point, I don’t see how we can avoid it because religious arguments are being used to enable such awful stuff and we have a Presidential candidate who is encouraging it.

  3. “I care about your actions. I care about how you treat the people you come in contact with every day. I care about how you treat people you may not agree with.”
    And to that I say, “Amen!”

    This is still a democracy; no one gets to trample on the freedoms of another.

  4. I was recently fired from a job I loved, because I am a Christian. The woman who hired me knew this, and basically told me that since I was a Christian, I should not talk about that. Then she proceeded to make sure that, for two entire years, I did not talk about much of anything. She constantly interrupted me when I tried to speak, told me what I believed about just about everything (and was usually completely wrong) but never let me explain my real views, wouldn’t let others speak to me (by placing herself physically between me and them and walking them off), constantly verbally punching and jabbing at me, tearing me down behind my back (others told me what she was saying and it was vicious) and so on and on and on. My blood pressure was high, my heart would race for days on end; and then they fired me, and I don’t know why. I am guessing it was because she told some horrible lies about me to two principals at the school where I worked (again, I was told about these in some pretty blatant detail) and had to get rid of me before the principals figured out she was lying, but I don’t know.

    So that was the worst discrimination I’ve ever experienced. It was painful in every way possible. I believe, because I am a Christian who believes that we should obey the whole Bible and not just pick and choose what we obey, that every person is a precious treasure; that no one is perfect but we should all at least try, for our own sakes as well as everyone around us and also to honor God, our Creator; and that we should treat everyone, no matter who, what they believe, how they live or how they behave, exactly the same, “honor others as better than yourselves”, as the Bible says to do. But I was not treated that way, and there was no reason for that. She discriminated against me from the first day on the job, so if anyone is thinking I deserved any of that, it is not true. I am naturally a very quiet person, and was planning to just come in and do the job as well as I could, to honor God.

    So yes, I agree that discrimination of any sort is terribly wrong. But you seem, in your post, to discriminate against those who don’t believe the same as you do, just as my former boss did. That is not all right, either. You say you don’t discriminate, but you describe certain people using very nasty terminology that I doubt you would like used against you. It seems that people really do have a very hard time understanding that there is a difference between disagreeing – which we all do all the time; you will never find someone who believes just like you in every way – and treating others with contempt and scorn, labeling them and calling them names, insinuating that because they are not just like us, they are worth less than we are. I don’t agree with certain lifestyles, simply because they are spoken against in the Word of God, but I am nowhere near perfect and many people who live that way are my very best friends, and I truly love them just the way they are. We should all do this and stop discrimination of any kind, ever. It’s the only decent thing to do.

    1. Gretchen is not discriminating against people who believe differently from her up there. She is saying she doesn’t care what people believe. What she cares about is how they behave.

      Read it again.

      And if you are trolling this thread on purpose, you can go ahead and stop.

      No one’s spending their weekend responding to your 500-word comments point-by-point.

      (Sorry, Gretchen, if I am going too far here.)

    2. I’m not sure how you can gather what I believe from this post. I don’t discuss my spiritual or religious beliefs here. To do so would have been contradictory to the whole purpose of the post. I only expressed my belief in equality and treating others with dignity and respect. I don’t trample on anyone’s religious beliefs. I never had, never would.

      I do take issue with people using their religious beliefs to discriminate. That is the whole point of this writing. Your boss discriminated against you because of your religious beliefs. That is wrong. If she had just made a policy that religious beliefs should not be discussed in the work place, fine. But to actively discriminate and manipulate against you was wrong.

      I would like for you to consider that the “other lifestyles” you don’t agree with? Those people have to live with the kind of discrimination you experienced that one time at that one job. They get it from all places, all the time. Your isolated experience obviously traumatized you, as it would anyone. Imagine living with that day in and day out because someone believes your lifestyle is a sin. Because someone believes that they way you were born, who you are, is wrong. Imagine that. Who you are is WRONG. How awful to have to hear that from people.

      Also, I know plenty of Christians who do not believe that being LGBT is a sin. Just like they don’t believe that cutting your hair is a sin.

      1. Well I don’t care what you believe either. But when you believe that a man can decided he’s a woman one day and then follow my daughter into the pool locker room and expose himself to her while watching her change, that’s when I start to care, because then it makes a difference.

        And you say that you don’t care what I believe, but that’s not really true when you sue a florist or bakery out of business instead of just going to one of hundreds of other businesses that would love to serve a same sex wedding. It’s not true when a police chief is forced out of his job, his chosen profession because of writing about his personal beliefs on his own time, not ever bringing them into the work place. It’s also not true when I believe I shouldn’t use the morning after pill because it ends a life, yet you force me to pay for it for other people. You really do care what I believe, because you are holier than thou and know that I am wrong and you are going to force me to do the “right” thing based on your beliefs and your morality.

  5. Beautiful piece, and I couldn’t agree more. The touting of sacrosanct beliefs is really just a tactic for grabbing political power, putting together coalitions, and suppressing certain groups. We’re seeing it play out this year in shocking but predictable ways.

    Thanks for standing up and shouting!

    1. Yes. And it’s effective time and time again. They use fear to to gin up support. And the people who are buying into it seem to not understand it’s all about power and control.

      Thank you for your kind words and support!

    2. So right! People cite their sacrosanct belief in men being able to be women regardless what the science says about their genetics as a tactic for grabbing power to make high school locker rooms unusable for many teen girls and eventually limiting girls ability to excel in their chosen sports because they are competing with biologically male competitors with higher muscle mass. It’s shocking and predictable that you cannot even imagine that anyone could have a legitimate belief other than your own so you will use the courts to force everyone to comply with your beliefs.

  6. This is powerful, Gretchen. If only the closed minded, bigoted minority would join us in this evolution💗

    1. I think that is the problem. Evolution. People are afraid of change. Change means they may no longer have control. Sigh… I wish that your wish was likely to come true. Thank you, my friend.

  7. Reblogged this on Just Plain Ol' Vic and commented:
    I have to say I found this to be compelling, in part because it is how I feel.

    I personally feel that, while I do not have to respect your beliefs, I do respect your right to believe as you do. The benefits of living in a “free” society, right?

    I don’t judge a person based on their beliefs but their actions and if those actions echo those beliefs or make you a hypocrite. Actions always speak louder than words in my book.

    1. Thank you Vic! Talk is easy. We can all talk a good game. But it’s how you treat people that shows your character. One example that has nothing to do with religion? How you treat waiters or anyone in the service industry. I have no tolerance for people who are rude to waiters. If I go out to dinner with someone and they are rude or talk down to the waiter that will be the last time I dine with them. Same with hotel maids, cashiers at the grocery store, etc. When people are rude to people in the service industry it indicates that they think they are above them. It turns my stomach, honestly. Sorry to get off on a random tangent, but it is indicative of the kind of person you truly are in my book.

      1. I absolutely agree. I work in the technical field but my company is all about customer service, so it is deeply ingrained into me (even before working for this company) to treat people with kindness and respect.

        I have calmed down and turned around many a tense situation simply through listening and real empathy.

  8. On the surface it all sounds good. But, we have to look beneath the surface. This nation was founded on the belief we all have certain unalienable rights, the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. You may not like it, but those are the basic rights the founders of this nation believed we all have, and incorporated into the constitution. Added in are the freedoms of expression.

    My belief is transgender people are led by feelings, not fact, and confused about their gender. They feel they’re not the gender their sex organ reveals they are, and therefore choose to believe otherwise. Because I believe that does not mean I believe I have a right to degrade or judge them. Same can be said of homosexuality and homosexuals. In fact, I think these people need a very heavy dose of agape, unconditional love where they feel safe, and can possibly be healed. I resent the notion that because I believe this I am xenophobic, homophobic, whatever. Yet, this is the label those like me are labeled with by the likes of you and those who think like you.

    I also don’t believe because a person’s has confused feelings, and thinks they are a gender not aligned with the biological sex organ they’re born with — has a right to enter a restroom of the opposite gender, and invade the privacy of those properly aligned with their gender identifier. There are already accounts of transgenders undressing in opposite sex locker rooms in high schools, or public restrooms. What gives them the right to do this? Better yet, what gives anyone the right, simply because one day they feel male, and another day female to saunter into an opposite sex restroom, undress, be a voyeur, or whatever?

    Now, I also happen to think and BELIEVE right to life our founders instilled includes in the constitution includes the right to life of a child growing in their mother’s womb. In fact, there used to be a time when 95% of the women in this nation would gladly sacrifice their life for that child if that’s what it required to save her child’s life. Today, there is the belief a mother has the “right” to choose to terminate a baby’s life. Or, more appropriately, murder a child. It’s the quintessential definition of narcissism. Too bad a gene has yet to be found to identify these murderers. If so, then they could be the ones aborted stopping the horrible abortion holocaust producing over 60,000,000 deaths to children of the womb.

    Of course, this all flies in the face of the new American conscience that now perceives good as evil, and evil as good.

    1. I’m going to assume here that you’re arguing in good faith and hold off asking you if you are intentionally trolling this thread for now.

      This is part of the problem. ” In fact, I think these people need a very heavy dose of agape, unconditional love where they feel safe, and can possibly be healed.”

      Sensible people have rejected the notion that the heterosexual, cisgendered orientation is normal in the way you’re suggesting here for a couple of decades. Homosexuality and Transgender are not defects to be healed. Even though I am gay and even though I believe you’re stating your honest views in good faith, that idea is offensive. And note: I’m ok being offended. I’m not upset and you don’t owe me an apology for expressing an honest opinion. Just pointing out that what your saying is offensive.

      Not gonna argue with you over what the First Amendment means or about whether or not life begins at conception. We’re too far apart on those for that conversation to be productive, and that stuff feels like you tossing bait on a blog thread and hoping for a strong reaction.

      Careful what say next. I’m good at sussing out trolling. I’ve studied the behavior and such. You’re already in the gray area. Usually when I give a person the benefit of the doubt the way I’ve given it to you, the response tells.

      1. My guess is I could give you accounts of those who were once homosexuals, and who are now heterosexual, and you would say they were never truly gay to begin with. Or, if I provided you with volumes of research that counters what you think you know you would dispute it; and call it right wing propaganda. Some of that research reveals on a per capita basis the highest rate of homosexuality is found among African Americans. Most of those come from fatherless, broken, highly dysfunctional homes — where children of those homes are filled with extremely complicated, emotional pain. Or, I could point out STDs are experiencing a rapid increase among homosexuals in all major cities where larger gay populations exist. Or, that the CDC says 1 in 4 homosexuals engaged in male to male sex are carrying the AIDS virus, and unaware of it. That is why I believe these people need a very high level of unconditional love, and made to feel safe – because most have never experienced that kind of love. That said, my guess is me or anyone providing you this kind of info, and/or who don’t agree with you would be called nonsensical, and labeled a troll by you. Just understand this – your judgment and labeling me of such means absolutely nothing to me, nor carries any weight with me.

        1. Ding, ding, ding, ding ding!

          Don’t call people of different orientations “these people.”

          You are missing my point and you are making assumptions about how I would evaluate evidence and respond, when you don’t know me from Adam.

          I see that you are well-intentioned and also that you have no interest in discussing the fact that you think of homosexuality as a symptom that needs to be cured and I reject that view entirely, along with almost every other rational person in the Western World.

          And I still think you’re tossing bait on this thread hoping for a strong response.

          I’m calling you out for saying provocative stuff on a blog where you know there’s a high probability of someone disagreeing with you, just to start an argument.

          No one here is talking to you at this point, except for me, because I find you entertaining, and maybe Gretchen when she comes back, because she tends to answer every comment eventually.

          You’re outed, man. The statistics you could allegedly supply me and the predictable way you think I would respond don’t matter. You can’t expect a person to engage you in an evidence-based conversation when you not only failed to respond to a reasonable criticism, but also went and made it personal. Move along.

          I find you more than a little condescending.

          1. The judge of all, and who knows it all has spoken. Your honor, how is it I can regain your good grace?

            — Cute video, Gene. Sorry you went to the trouble. Best wishes to you.

          2. Doubling down on the condescension only makes things worse.

            I made an honest effort to engage you in productive conversation in my original response.

            You are the one who said this:

            “My guess is I could give you accounts of those who were once homosexuals, and who are now heterosexual, and you would say they were never truly gay to begin with”

            There are not only assumptions about homosexuals as a group in that comment, but assumptions about me.

            I’m only responding this one more time because I think, just maybe, you are not actually trolling but are just ignorant.

            If you knew me at all, you would know that all the friends who read this thread later when I share it all over the internet will laugh their asses off at the idea of me being “the judge of all.”

            Why would you want to “regain” my good grace? You never had it, and you obviously don’t care that much about what I think. You are being facetious.

            The video did its job. It evoked a response.

          3. Isn’t that what a troll does – make a degrading comment like yours with the video to elicit a response? Read my response above again. Maybe you’ll get it. Afterward, take a hard look in the mirror. I’m done with this. Again, best wishes to you.

          4. I’ve not degraded anyone. And I have not called you a troll. Accused you of trolling, yes. But I am talking about behavior, not about who you are.

            Won’t dignify the “hard look in a mirror” with a response other than to note that saying that makes you look even smaller than you already were looking. And I will reiterate: You don’t KNOW me.

            I’ll not read your response again, but I will suggest that you read the post again.

            Glad you’re done. This is getting tiresome.

    2. Pal, this “new American consciousness” that you speak of? It indicates a lot about your motivations, in my opinion. America is moving forward, progressing. I know change is scary for those who are used to being in the driver’s seat and holding all of the power. But the consciousness of America is becoming more understanding, more inclusive. I fail to see how that’s a bad thing.

      I honestly believe that the crux of the whole bathroom issue is a lack of understanding about what it is to be transgender. I’m not saying that to insult or insinuate ignorance. The transgender community is still a “new” thing for most of us. We are only just beginning to have conversations about it and understand it. I think a lot of well intentioned people are fearful of the public restroom issue (that was the impetus for HB2 in N.C.) because they don’t really understand what being transgender means. It is not a man or woman dressing up as the opposite sex for fun. These are people who are not the gender that their genitalia indicates. There are children, very very young children who are transgender. Children who have no knowledge yet of social norms and expectations.

      The argument that people can be “cured” of homosexuality is frightening and harkens back to the days that they burned witches. Why anyone would buy into the misguided notion that anyone would CHOOSE to be gay is beyond me. Why would someone choose a life style that opens them up to discrimination and often violence? It is not an easy road, to live life as LGBT. People lose their families over it. It is awful what so many of them have to go through. Incidentally, there is abundant evidence that people who deny their homosexuality (often because of societal and familial and religious pressures) end up seeking an outlet in ways that are risky, sometimes illegal and often dangerous. So, the idea that “Hey, you know what would be fun? To be gay! Yes, let me upend my entire life just for kicks.” is ridiculous to buy into.

      I will not address the abortion issue on my blog. If you would like to discuss that or spout off on those views, I suggest you start your own blog. It is honestly a great outlet and a very rewarding experience. You might enjoy it. I will warn you, though. Trolls can get ugly at times. Be careful.

  9. Great post. Beautifully said. My home state is North Carolina and even though I moved away nearly 30 years ago, it still breaks my heart that the discriminatory law passed.

    1. N.C. is my home state as well, Bradley. And even now, I am just across the border in a suburb of Charlotte. I am proud to see all of the citizens and businesses who are protesting and speaking out about this issue. Because I’m a silly optimist, I think that ultimately this will be a good thing. We’ll get this horrible law shut down with legal action and in the process other voices will have been heard and in the forefront of our state. Thank you for being here.

      1. All of them except the ones who would impose their views or do violence to others in the name of their religion, is how I took it. I liked the comment, but I will admit the concept is somewhat problematic 😉

        1. Let’s see. Is forcing someone to pay for something that they conscientiously disagree with “imposing” your views on others? How about forcing someone to bake a cake, arrange flowers for or otherwise create a celebration for an event they don’t wish to celebrate instead of going to one of hundreds of other businesses who would love to have the business? Is that “imposing” your views on the business owner that gets sued out of business? How about getting a police chief fired because he wrote about his personal beliefs off company property while he was not at work? Isn’t that a little pushy of the tolerance crowd?

          You liberals have been pushing your views on others for some time now. In fact protesters went to businesses and homes of people they disagreed with and threatened and destroyed property after the Prop 8 vote in CA. You just have no imagination to realize that a view other than yours is actually a view nonetheless. So it’s ok to force with the threat of jail, whatever, because you guys hold the RIGHT views. So tolerant of you.

  10. “Laws and bills aimed at limiting or taking away rights.”

    Question: Whose rights? Yours or mine?

    Since many in this nation have come to the place where they think a person with a penis, (I dare not call that person male to refrain from offending), and identify more so with those who have a vagina; thinks their rights are violated because they have to choose a restroom constructed to accommodate people with penises like them, i.e., (more urinals than stalls because people with penises don’t sit to pee); and not allowed to pee in a restroom constructed with no urinals and all stalls for those with a vagina — I think I have a common sense solution.

    Let’s remove all gender identifiers from restrooms, and instead of a male and female figure on the sign outside a restroom we place signs with a penis on the restrooms with urinals and stalls, and a vagina on those with all stalls. That way those with a penis pee where a penis sign is because it is constructed to accommodate those with penises, and those with a vagina pee in restrooms with a vagina sign because it is accommodated for those with a vagina.

    Now, whose rights are being violated, or who is being offended under that scenario?

    Can’t wait. Sure someone has all the reasons why this still violates the rights of some. Geez, what is this world coming to?

    1. You couldn’t leave well enough alone, I see.

      You’ll be lucky if anyone responds to this one at all, other than me.

      Once you start using genitalia to stand in for complete human beings, you’re cooked.

      Nothing more to say, really.

      1. You still think I’m posting to see who or how many will respond. Maybe that is what gives you a sense of value, but not me.

        As far as those unwilling to leave well enough alone…that would be transgender people, that infinitesimally small percentage of our population who don’t seem to understand why public restrooms were built the way they were to begin with. Further, who want to scream their rights are violated because a few times a week they have to enter restrooms with those of the same anatomy to do their business like everyone else, and/or because they’re not allowed in restrooms of those of different anatomies to do the same. Therefore, they cause a national uproar because for two to three minutes max they can’t quietly dispose of their human waste in facilities constructed to accommodate them. Awww…their feelings are hurt. And, because their feelings are hurt they think 99.999% of the population should give into their ridiculous claims their rights are being violated, and that we should all capitulate to their absurd demands for the right to invade the privacy RIGHTS of just about everybody living in America. Narcissism in full mode. That’s all it is.

        1. Sticks and stones, man. Sticks and stones. Of course I think that. Can’t imagine why you’d be saying the stuff you are saying on this particular blog otherwise. If I wanted to spout the stuff you’ve said this weekend and actually have a productive conversation, I’d be posting it on a conservative blog.

          You have a right to whatever opinion you choose to hold and you have a right to express said opinion on a public internet thread so long as you stay within bounds and don’t get yourself banned.

          I have the right to challenge your opinion in any way I see fit — including pointing out that your behavior is a bit trollish — so long as I stay within boundsd and don’t get myself banned.

          I’m not yielding an inch here, but I am disengaging.

          There’s no way communicating further with you could possibly be productive for me. It’s a waste of my time at this point.

          I’m only leaving this last comment as a courtesy.

    2. Human rights.

      Allowing a transgender person to use the same restroom as me is not stripping me of rights. Not in the least. And here’s a little interesting tidbit. You have been using public restrooms right alongside transgender men at some point in your life. Likely multiple times. You just never realized it.

      1. Well, if they were right next to me standing at a urinal peeing so be it. That means they have a penis like me, and are in the restroom they should be in. Why give them the right to invade the privacy rights of women so they can go into their restroom, undress if they so desire, and pull it out exposing themselves for all to see? What’s to stop them? Does that not strip a woman’s right to privacy? Maybe not you, but you can rest assured it does for most women.

        Further, this nation has an ever growing population of perverts. Rest assured voyeurs and rapists are looking hard at how they can use all this to their advantage. I can only imagine how many voyeurs are already at it.

        This whole thing is absolute lunacy.

  11. Fabulous article. I have shared publicly on FB. All the best. Regards Chris fitzpatrick.

  12. 220 Facebook shares! You should be proud of that, and proud of the fact that you stirred things up a bit.

    The only way we get where we want to go is by persistently communicating with people who find what we are saying uncomfortable.

    Just dropped it on my timeline, because I got mixed up about what day it was and thought it was 5:30 on Sunday, lol.

    I know I’ve littered this thread with comments, but I doubt it’s cost me an hour, all-told. Pretty good weekend so far, all-in-all.

  13. Not only do I agree with every word you wrote but the passion behind it. I don’t like blaming the internet for every problem. But it has created this issue where everyone thinks their opinion matters more than their character and or their action. I’m guilty of this too. You accumulate followers/friends/whatevers and you have bad day after bad day at work or home and you think keybanging is how you’re active. It’s bullcrap. Even if you’re on the same right side of things or correct side, as we are (eyeroll) it’s what you do when you put you phone down that matters.

    I joined a political party for the first time ever, in January. It rhymes with Kemobrat. I’ve donating time and money. I’m attending rallies and fundraisers and I’m spending less time bitching online.

    Maybe one day, I’ll be a big boy.

    1. *pats Lance on the head* you are already a big boy, Lance.

      I agree, actually doing something is important. Any of us who have the time should try to do something, even if it’s a little thing. I guess that means I need to go volunteer with that Kleptofratic party too. Sigh… I did in college and eight years ago I did some campaigning as well, but I have yet to get involved this go ’round. I will, though. Dammit. I guess I have to after reading your comment. 😉

  14. “Equality is equality is equality.” Yes! This is what I don’t get, or rather why I don’t understand why others don’t understand this simple fact: born in the USA=entitled to the same rights as all others born in USA. This is what made the SCOTUS’ ruling on same-sex marriage inevitable. Thank you for saying, so eloquently, what I have felt for a long time.

    1. Thank you! I don’t understand it either. Why would anyone want to deny others the same rights they have? All of the arguments I’ve heard so far in relation to the recent legislation is based on fear mongering and fallacies.

      1. And based on their desire to impose their religious beliefs on the rest of us (and I’m a practicing Episcopalian). They forget we are a nation of laws, with a specific exclusion of any religious dominance. They forget that law is reason devoid of passion. They use the very law that protects their right to worship as they chose, be that God, Allah, Yahweh, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster, to impose upon others. I find it incredibly frustrating.

        1. That’s so disingenuous, but exactly what I’d expect an Episcopalian to say. You might try “dialoguing” with people who actually have beliefs, instead of pretty music and empty content.

          1. Wow – darkpavillions you went right from dialogue to insult. You’ve never attended the churches of which I’ve been a member, you have no idea of the scholarship and spirit that dwelt within. For the record, I have meaningful, spirit-filled “dialogue” and also conversations, with many people of faith, ordained and lay. But thanks for pointing our your own bias in saying, “… exactly what I’d expect an Episcopalian to say.”

          2. Hmmm…I was an Episcopal priest for a couple decades, so I probably HAVE been in the churches of which you’ve been a member. So, just what “bias” do you think I’ve revealed? If you are sensing my “bias” against the Episcopal Church, you’re not wrong, but I prefer to call it “hard won wisdom.” It’s the bias of an abused former spouse against her ex–it didn’t have to be that way, but reality, not wishful thinking, eventually had to rule the day.

            But why should you feel insulted? There’s no standard for belief in the Episcopal Church, so it is by definition empty of content–at least as a community. You personally can believe whatever you want, as long as you don’t talk about it. You tend to have beautiful liturgy, stunning music, and candy-ass preaching and teaching. The laws and reason you so willingly invoked in your original comment are only applicable if they pertain to political or social liberals, or people with no beliefs (because having a belief is always interpreted as imposing a belief).

            That’s what Episcopalians–at least the ones who are left–like and embrace as some sort of approach to creating truth out of all the diverse voices that bring their own personal contribution to the discussion. Well, not that diverse, because y’all have driven thousands and thousands of people with different views out in the past decade and a half, leaving pretty much only yourselves and your “spirituality.” Whatever that means.

            See, no reason to be insulted. Just descriptive, not evaluative.

  15. Hi Gretchen,

    I sure think this should be adressed widely!! I think you have a clear beautiful mind!

    Best, Niek.

    2016-03-25 1:09 GMT+01:00 Drifting Through My Open Mind :

    > Gretchen Kelly posted: ” Right now everyone’s talking about beliefs. > Beliefs that prompted the infamous Religious Freedom Act in Indiana last > year, and last week’s Georgia’s Religious Freedom Bill and most > recently North Carolina’s wide reaching and shocking HB 2, along with ot” >

  16. That was nicely said. I think we need to differentiate between respecting a person’s right to believe what they choose from the choice of whether we agree with what they believe. Often the people who are loudest in demanding that others respect their beliefs have no such respect for our beliefs. In this context they are demanding that we submit to their thinking.

    These people may have the right to speak their ideas, but I am under no obligation to listen to or respect what they say (I forget where I read this thought). Freedom of speech is not the freedom to dominate.

    One thing I’ve noticed is that the people who are the pushiest about ramming their belief down other peoples throats are often uncertain about what they believe. By repeating their theories and theologies often and publicly they are trying to convince themselves that they know the truth, and are committing themselves at the same time.

    1. You can, of course, choose to be open-minded and tolerant, or not (although, based on what you said above, it seems clear which way you lean). The reality is that in this instance, when it comes to who uses which bathrooms, someone is going to win and someone is going to lose. Either the people who advocate for separate rooms for biological males and females to partially undress to take care of biological functions, or the people who advocate for all individuals regardless of biology to be able to choose which room to use to partially undress in the company of others, will influence the policies of different businesses more. Someone’s view will be imposed, and someone will be imposed upon.

      Everyone has philosophical and ideological reasons for their views, some of them religious and some not. Religious ideology is a perfectly valid form of philosophy, so it doesn’t make sense for it to be dismissed just because it leads to SOME conclusions you don’t personally agree with–in the same way that rejection of religious ideology is also a valid philosophical stand.

      The questions involved in this issue are far less about religion than about the common good. The proclivity of a minority of religious people to spew badly thought-out opinions is no more offensive or oppressive than the proclivity of a certain percentage of non-religious people to reject a point of view out of hand because it also is held by some religious people.

      The questions we need to ask when setting policy about who may be partially exposed in the public company of other partially exposed, and therefore vulnerable, people include:

      –What is the general cultural view of who has a right to be unclothed in the presence of others?
      –What is the effect on society if we revise the general or historical views on who has a right to be unclothed in the presence of others of the same or different biological sex?
      –What is the risk to society if the use of restrooms becomes a matter of choice rather than law?
      –What is the risk to an individual who expects to be in a same-sex restroom and discovers that he or she is not?
      –What is the risk to an individual who identifies as one gender but is required by law to use the restroom of his or her biological sex?
      –What rights are being violated when a person expects to be in a restroom with only his or her own biological sex, but discovers the presence of the other biological sex?
      –What rights are being violated when a person is excluded from a room where his or her gender congregates for biological functions?
      –Does a utilitarian view (the greatest good for the greatest number of people) effect the good of the whole society in this case more than an individualistic (all individuals’ needs must be equally considered, regardless of the good to the greater number). Each of those has its place in the formation of rules and policies–and sometimes you can’t have both.
      –If the question tends culturally or legally to a utilitarian approach, which “greater good” is most important? Is it more important to live in a society that protects the desires of a minority, or is it more important to live in a society where the majority feels safe? Notice that we are talking here about “desires” and “feelings,” not rights. A transwoman can pee at a urinal, and a cis woman is almost always safe peeing in a stall next to a transwoman–but the transwoman does not DESIRE to pee with men, and the cis woman does not FEEL safe peeing in the same room with a biological male.
      –How will we as a society define reality? Is it what exists (you have a penis, therefore you are a man), or your interpretation of what exists (you have a penis, but everything in you says that nature made a mistake by making you biologically male). We accept both of those approaches to reality in different arenas, but only one can dominate in any given question.

      Some of these questions can only be answered one way or the other, and if the answers don’t correlate to your philosophical convictions, you will be imposed upon, and if they do, you will be imposing your convictions on others.

  17. This is the most well written article I have ever read. No matter your beliefs, your actions display who you are as a character. Even if you feel you have a strong belief system, then justify it with your actions. Treat others the way you would like to be treated. If only everyone had the same mindset as you. I want to give this article 1000 likes, and share it multiple times. Also, do you have a specfic stance on how we should approach people who act like this?

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words. As to how we approach people who act like this? I prefer to politely call them out of they are being discriminatory. I really try to approach these things with reason and calm. I’m a hopeful optimist who thinks that people can change and change their mindsets. It doesn’t always work, of course. It’s hard to change mindsets when there is hatred or bitterness at the core. Or when it’s deeply ingrained, long held beliefs. Some people will always think that certain lifestyles are a sin. I think those people will eventually be left behind, our country is getting more inclusive and progressive.

  18. Reblogged this on A Day In The Life Of A Night Shift Nurse and commented:
    This theme is very apparent in many aspects of our existence. When someone loudly exclaims that they are being persecuted for their beliefs, it is a euphemism for “my rights are not being elevated above your beliefs.” I believe that we all should have the freedom to pursue and practice whatever level of religion/faith/spirituality that we desire. However, where a label that is not mainstream, and you get pushed into a subordinate role…and treated accordingly with less respect, and worse yet, hostility.

  19. Thank you for this post. This is part of an important dialogue that needs to occur in our incredibly divisive world. I wish I had time now to elaborate, but this is my busy week at work. Four 12 hours shifts in five days keeps one busy.

    Rock on!


  20. Powerful and eloquent!! I read your imposter post right before this… You, dear one, are no imposter!! So glad to find you, and so looking forward to reading more…Write On!! xoxo 😘

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