Mocking Gays and Mocking Religious Fundamentalists are NOT the Same Thing

Conservative mouthpiece The Blaze ran a story this week asking why Michael Sam is lauded in the press for coming out as gay while other athletes like Tim Tebow are taken to task for coming out as Christian. The Blaze used tweets from DeMarcus Walker, a sophomore defensive end for Florida State, who asked the following rhetorical question:

Image source: Twitter via Twitchy

This seems to be a popular meme amongst the religious right, many of whom joined in the outrage denounce the big bad liberal media’s promotion of gay marriage. Here are some select tweets (curated by The Blaze):

Image source: Twitter via Twitchy

Personally, I’m not a big fan of bashing religion.

Most of the religious people I know are kind and wonderful people, and while there’s much we don’t agree on, there is often common ground if you attempt to see things from their perspective. I’ve found the religious people I know to be mostly interested in being nice to others, and I have no problem with that.

Also, I can certainly understand why some religious folk feel their beliefs are under attack from nonbelievers – and that’s largely because they are.

Scientific progress has taken an axe to basic religious beliefs, undermining its fundamental premise that we are the sole purpose of the universe, and that God created man in his image. From Newtonian physics to Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, there isn’t much left to argue about when it comes to understanding the ‘hows’ of creation. Those still clinging on to Bronze Age mythologies as literal truths are bound to come under fire from those grounded in reality — and it can get pretty harsh when people like Richard Dawkins decide to make you a target.

Generally, I feel a little sorry for those relentlessly laughed at by snooty East Coast coffee drinkers, but there’s a key difference when it comes to being mean to Bible-thumpers and gays.

Tim Tebow chooses to be a Christian, while Michael Sam does not choose to be gay.

Equating attacks on overt displays of religiosity with overt displays of homosexuality is akin to comparing discrimination against people with tattoos and racism against African Americans. You choose have a tattoo, while you don’t choose to be black. To believe Jesus Christ died for your sins and that gay marriage is wrong is a conclusion you come to, and a belief you identify with. While some still argue that homosexuality is ‘a choice’, the fact is that it isn’t. No matter how many Psalms you can quote, the science is in, and we now know that gays do not choose to be attracted to members of the same sex.

Tim Tebow seems like a nice enough chap. He canceled a speaking gig at a crazy right-wing church when he found out how homophobic they were, and his version of Christianity appears to be at the worst benign, and at its best, very positive.  Being a dick to him because of his religion is, well, a bit dickish.

But as a white Christian male in America, he isn’t exactly in a minority, and he doesn’t risk getting his head kicked in for ‘coming out’.

Michael Sam is the first active NFL player to come out as being gay. He has risked his career, his personal life and his physical safety to do so. The discrimination that gays have experienced throughout history is not a joke. It is horrific beyond belief, and no reasonable person can compare it to a snarky remark from Bill Maher, or a documentary by Richard Dawkins.

Sorry, it’s just not the same thing.

  • CL Nicholson

    Ben, great piece sir. I appreciate the fact that you go out of your way to state that being religious doesn’t automatically mean you’re an idiot or a bigot.

    As a person of faith an LGBT ally, the analogy of Tebow being trolled by Bill Maher and Michael Sams possibly risking his livelihood and his life by coming out frustrates me to no end, for the reason you laid out. Believing in God is not a license to ignorant, stupid or just plain hateful, especially not in 2014.

    I was having a similar conversation with my sister-in-law this weekend. She’s a sweet woman, and with her PhD in public health and a masters in history, is frankly far smarter than I am (as is my wife and most of her Mensa-like immigrant family). However, she’s also member of TD Jakes very conservative Potter’s House church. In comparison to most mega churches, most mainline protest Black churches are filled with flaming, pride flag waving commies. Like many religious conservatives, she can’t wrap her head around the fact that:

    1. What ancient people in the Fertile Cresent understood about homosexuality and whole lot other things are just flat out wrong. It doesn’t negate faith, religion or God – but it does call for people of faith to reexamine the ancient text for what they say to us today.

    2. Even if you abide Biblical literalism, it doesn’t matter. Forcing someone to shoe horn their lives into your particular metaphysical sandbox is fundamentally anti-American and puts you more in line with violent Mullahs ruling the Afghan/Pakistani countryside than modern Western citizens. To paraphrase Chez, when legislation comes down to choosing an actual person’s individual freedoms and someone’s else “Invisible Friend” and “Bronze Age Mythology”, the former must always win out. The US was founded as a fairly secular society and we’ve moved towards more inclusion everyday. We should never decide laws based upon any given religion, because we live in a society founded on the idea that all religion, with in reason, are equal under the law.

    In short, this piece is a great conversation starter for people of faith. Unfortunately, its a conversation few religious people are willing to partake.

  • Emily333

    Well said, Ben.

  • Harold Rogers

    Same thing, only a dick with ears would think it isn’t.

  • FDRliberal

    Of course in the world of Fox News and right-wing extremist bloggers, white conservative Christian guys are always the real victims.

  • M A G

    I can’t speak for others, but I mocked Tebow for acting like he was the greatest thing since sliced bread when he obviously wasn’t. It had nothing to do with his religion.

  • D_C_Wilson

    Tim Tebow was not mocked for being a Christian. He was mocked for thinking that being a Christian was a substitute for being able to throw the ball with consistency.

    • FDRliberal

      Tebow was lucky that Jesus gave him a good defense.

      • D_C_Wilson

        Didn’t help him much once that defense faced a real team.

  • Saren Arterius

    Poor persecuted Tebow, drafted in the first round, and had unlimited favorable media coverage and a cult-like fanbase celebrating every minor achievement of Tebow’s as if it was a touchdown in a playoff game. Remember that time the NFL forced him to curb his public displays of faith? Oh wait that never happened?

    It’s kind of amusing, albeit extremely obnoxious, that they make Tebow out to be persecuted. He was extremely popular in college because he had arguably the most successful college career EVER (no, seriously), but pro scouts said his extended throwing motion and lack of accuracy would not translate well to the NFL. Despite this, Tebow was still drafted in the first round and eventually was given a chance to start, and the new coach (who replaced the one responsible for drafting Tebow, as – surprise – it would later become clear he had no idea what he was doing) adapted his entire offseason game plan to mask Tebow’s significant limitations as a quarterback. That started a crazy run of fluke wins that would end when Denver faced a real team in the playoffs and promptly got destroyed. Tebow had multiple opportunities to succeed as a NFL player but insisted on being a QB, and washed out of the league. None of this had anything to do with him being a Christian.

  • condew

    Mental illness is not a choice, and I’d call this compulsion to make private things public a mental illness.

  • don

    I hope Michael Sam does very well. I hope Tim Tebow does well. At whatever they do. Both seem to be good guys to me. I think, along with HGT TV guys loosing their chance at a show or , more importantly, the Clash of Civilizations theme we are presented with a paradox about “tolerance”. Isn’t intolerance of intolerance wrong and, ultimately, hypocrisy?

    • Robert Scalzi

      “Isn’t intolerance of intolerance wrong and, ultimately, hypocrisy?”
      Absolutely unequivocally NO. Intolerance of intolerance is what we MUST do – so are you saying I should be tolerant of bigotry and racism and misogyny ?? Try again.

      • don

        It’s a tough question. I think there are limits to intolerance otherwise you are in danger of becoming what you are intolerant of. Rooted in each things you reference, bigotry, racism, and misogyny is intolerance. Anyone can, and they do, argue a grander scope of being right and we escalate.

        • Robert Scalzi

          you suggest with your argument that we ignore these4 cretins – that IS exactly the problem – very few have the guts to call out these people EVERYDAY when they are encountered – Call them out and shame the bastards – that is the only way – Tolerance of intolerance is for wishy washy wimpy people that don’t want to get “involved”.
          try again

          • don

            I don’t suggest we ignore anything. I think you are making my point without intending to ….

    • Aaron Litz

      Is intolerance of intolerance wrong?
      Is hatred of unreasoned hatred wrong?

      Hardly.

      Actually, the phraseology is all wrong. It isn’t “intolerance” so much as it is bigotry, and intolerance of bigotry is a good thing.

      Why should we tolerate bigotry? The entire argument of “you are being intolerant by not accepting our intolerance” is the worst kind of sophistry and dishonest semantic acrobatics. Intolerance of people based on the circumstances of their birth and/or genetic/physical/social factors beyond their control is plain and simple bigotry, and there is never a need to tolerate bigotry.

      Not tolerating intolerance is the absolute opposite of hypocrisy; it is consistency. Demanding tolerance from everyone while tolerating intolerance from a few who try to claim that not tolerating their intolerance is itself intolerance would be hypocrisy, not to mention absolutely nonsensical and a logical nightmare.

      The entire issue is nothing but word games and a clear attempt to cloud and confuse the issue with the meaningless and empty misuse of words. It is the essence of sophistry; Socrates would punch the people trying to use that argument right in the nose.

      I try to go far beyond “tolerance” and hardly think it is a noble goal. I aim for acceptance. “Tolerating” something is hardly a welcoming spirit (but I understand that things are so bad for some people that “tolerating” is the best that can be hoped for in some cases, and it’s far better than intolerance and hatred.)

      • don

        Wow You think there is such a concept as “reasoned hatred”? Hatred is an emotion.

        As for my “sophistry” you are claiming I am trying to deceive you with some kind of clever trick. I am not trying to deceive anybody. I pointed out there is a paradox. Stimulating thought is not sophistry … but I like your Socrates quote …

        • Aaron Litz

          Just because an emotion is involved does not mean reason goes out the window. Reason does not mean Vulcan-like emotionless machine logic. It is quite possible to hate something for totally well thought-out, rational reasons. Bigotry, for example.

          I didn’t say you were trying to deceive anyone, but you have apparently caught yourself in a semantic illusion. Stimulating thought is not sophistry, but trying to equate the nonacceptance of bigotry as somehow being a hypocritical “intolerance of intolerance” certainly is sophistry. It is a perfect example of sophistry, actually.

          If we demand everyone to be tolerant, how can we accept some people to remain intolerant, but if we do not, does that then make us intolerant? It is using the definitions of words to get in the way of and confuse the intent of the idea we are using them to express. It is the definition of sophistry.

          We are talking about tolerance of bigotry. And bigotry is not something to be tolerated.

          • don

            I think you can use reason to understand why someone hates someone I don’t think you can reason to hate someone. Using reason to justify an the acts spawned by emotion is rationalization

            As to sophistry I offer you a gandhi quote : gandhi said “anger and intolerance are the enemies of correct understanding” ….

          • Aaron Litz

            I’m not talking about using reason to form an excuse after the fact for why you hate something. I am talking about hating something as a result of a reasoned chain of thought that leads to the conclusion that the thing is wrong. Hating a thing that is wrong is not wrong. Hating bigotry, an evil thing, is not wrong. Again, I think you are getting caught up in the words being used and allowing them to cloud the true meaning of the ideas behind them. I am not advocating hating anyone, but hating the existence and process of bigotry, which is is not a bad thing at all. I would like to see the bigots educated and shown the error of their ways, but hating them is a waste of time and serves no good purpose, in fact making them more intractable (which I think is at the core of what you are trying to say.).

            That being said, sometimes emotions do flare up and get out of hand, specially with people who are flagrantly ignorant and arrogantly proud of their ignorance and bigotry.

            Ghandi is absolutely correct (which isn’t hard to imagine. :) ). Which is why I am telling you that this “intolerance of intolerance” thing is sophistry, because the nonacceptance of bigotry is not being intolerant; it is an example semantic acrobatics used to cloud the true issue. Labeling the nonacceptance of intolerance as being intolerant is an incorrect and fallacious mislabel.

            I do not think we disagree on the issue, but you are allowing the semantic twisting and sophistry of the Conservatives to confuse you. I ask you this: Should evil be tolerated just so as to avoid the label of being “intolerant?” That is the crux of the matter. When we correctly say that Conservatives are being intolerant of gays and other minorities because of their bigotry, is it correct for them to be able to turn around and say “your nonacceptance of our intolerance is being intolerant?” The argument is nonsensical. It is misusing the term “intolerant.”

            We are not accepting their attitude of intolerance. Because it is wrong.

            They are being intolerant of people based purely on the circumstances of their birth. Which is bigotry.

            Is it wrong to oppose bigotry? Must we tolerate evil just so as to avoid being labeled “intolerant” ourselves? It is a semantic trap, and meaningless.

          • don

            I think you give a thoughtful answer. I tolerance cuts both ways. I think there are priorities. And sometime being called a hypocrite is the best path to choose. For instance, if I claim to be a pacifist and promote it as a lifestyle, and then someone attacks my family and I decide to kill them. I would have made the decision that being called a hypocrite is better than watching my family die.

            I think you are on the right path in dealing with bigotry by education or at least promoting a open dialogue so that things can be said and measure for what they are. I think racism is different and, unfortunately rooted more deeply in the way all people think. We have moments of enlightenment when things are good but fall back quickly when resources are scarce. I think intolerance in the spirit of always speaking out against something such as bigotry or racism is good. When it leads to actively isolating and depriving people the ability to make a living it turns into something less noble. Perhaps necessary such as my pacifist example above but much less noble. I think the key thing is to be careful not to trigger resentment. Resentment can breed a dangerous and special darkness that feeds genocides and extended wars that are unnecessary. 20th century Germany comes to mind but there are other examples. And it can happen much quicker than you think.

            With respect to the Gay rights issue vs say The Conservative Christians. Persecution has been a human practice since the beginning. All people have been touched at one time or another. I think a lot of rural Christians feel under attack for who they are not the opinions they hold. There is some “how does it feel” pay back that is justified but radical intolerance smells of Puritanism. Let’s kill all the Jews. Let’s kill all the Christians. Let’s kill all the Gays. Let’s kill all the Blacks. Let’s kill all the Whites. And yes, let’s kill all the bigots and racists. Lurks in the heated rhetoric. The “final solution” looms always. And, like I said, it can happen quicker than you think. It only takes a generation to forget.

            “Must we avoid intolerance to avoid being labeled intolerant?” isn’t a semantic trap. It points out a paradox that without some thoughtful self discipline lays us open to forces that can pull us into a black hole of hate where we become exactly what we are fighting against.

            My two cents anyway. Good thoughtful exchange.

          • Aaron Litz

            Yes, it was. :) That’s for being civil and having an actual discussion with real thoughts. We’ve had a recent rash of double-talking trolls doing nothing but spouting debunked Conservative talking points, while condescendingly acting as if they were some kind of superior intellectuals gifting us with universal truths which we were just too dense to understand.
            (Not to mention that one claimed he was just using us for “market research” and was going to make lots of money from “researching how we thought” and selling things to us based on what he had learned. Oh, he had also worked closely with Hillary Clinton in the ’90s. I’m certain he was being totally honest. :)

            I was specifically called out as being a foolish young boy who didn’t understand politics and had never developed any opinions of my own, but merely restated opinions I heard around me. I tried having a discussion like this with them, but they conveniently avoided actually addressing my points by declaring them false and not actually my own opinions anyway so I couldn’t understand what I was saying. It was extremely frustrating and infuriating.

          • don

            Oh, I know … its part of the deal all around these days. We just can do our best. Have a great day :).

    • D_C_Wilson

      Isn’t intolerance of intolerance wrong and, ultimately, hypocrisy?

      No. Next question.

    • Sabyen91

      “Isn’t intolerance of intolerance wrong and, ultimately, hypocrisy?”

      Is that a totally idiotic question?

      Answer: Yes.

      • don

        You know … debate is suppose to be deeper than your average first person shooter. ;)

        • dbtheonly

          Yes, but you need to present a logical position.

          If intolerance of intolerance is intolerance itself; then you reduce the word to a tautology. No one has clean hands. No one should complain.

          As for the HGT TV show; are you asserting Constitutional right to make an ass of yourself in public? (Hint: you don’t need a TV show)

          • don

            If you are really curious about my position and explanation read my response to Aaron Litz below (if sorted by time).

            As for your second remark: I wrote nothing about asserting a Constitutional Right. You made that one up. I’ll gladly leave the ass making analysis to you :).

  • Robert Scalzi

    The whole premise of your piece is FALSE Ben – Tim Tebow was LAUDED for his faith to the point that people were “Tebowing” all over the god forsaken planet in a sort of tribute to TT. NOT one iota of REAL criticism came at Tebow until he Failed AT HIS JOB – which was trying and failing at being NFL QB – there was VERY little criticism of TT until he failed at his job – sorry but this isn’t even a fair comparison by you or the idiot dolts on the right who think it is.

  • Daniel James

    I just want to point out a little nuance that might help both sides of the argument communicate better.

    You say that people who are gay do not choose to be gay. True, but from the detractors’ perspective, gay people do choose to express the fact that they are gay. It’s a choice, because from an outsider’s perspective, they could choose not to express it. Many people have taken that choice (and have been unhappy or incomplete because of it). For most gay people however, it’s not a choice. But that’s from the insider’s perspective.

    Similarly, you say (from an outsider’s perspective) that religious people choose to believe in ridiculous literalisms from the bible. But consider for a moment that some people have a strong natural inclination to believe in some form of God, to have faith. Their brains are more responsive to the feeling of humility and awe that can be achieved when contemplating god or infinity. They are, therefore, religious from genetics and early rearing in the same way that people’s sexuality is generally determined for them before they become self-aware. It is therefore natural that certain people have stronger religious feelings. What form this expresses itself in is largely influenced by the family and culture in which you grow up in. Indeed, you can have strong religious feelings and not express them. Which is what the outsider asks them to do. But we don’t really want to do that to people if we can help it do we? Lobotomize them…

    So my point is simply that from each side of the argument it looks like one’s own position is not a choice and the other person’s position is a choice. That’s because we see their position as a choice to express something that they don’t have to express, because we don’t have much empathy for thinking through the consequences of that.

    I’m not sure if anyone would change their position based on this, but it might at least be a helpful way to think about the similarities, once we take in to account our different perceptions of the other.

    • don

      Good response to a good post.

    • D_C_Wilson

      Being gay or straight is not a choice, however, (except for cases of rape) which people you make your sexual partner(s) is your choice. Likewise, accepting for a moment that belief in a god is something intrinsic, joining a particular branch of religion that preaches intolerance is a choice.

  • Guest

    It’s all so logical.

  • Scopedog

    Spot-on Ben–and while I do find Maher and Dawkins to be smug blowhards–just my opinion, mind you–your point is blindingly clear..”it’s just not the same thing.”

    And as Razor pointed out–Tebow was kicked to the curb because he was not a good player.

  • joseph2004

    I don’t find either practice – bashing gays or bashing Christians – terribly enlightened, each being a self-serving act at someone else’s expense.

    For as much as the left in this country goes out of its way to protect just about everyone, no matter how ridiculous, from being offended or mocked, Christians are the big exception. Pissing all over a figurine of Christ is “free speech,” not to mention edgy and chic. Flushing a Koran down a toilet is a hate crime.

    Why the difference in attitudes?

    One reason: Christianity is the dominant faith in America, and so we know how bad that must make it. Another, oddly then, is the perception that by mocking Christians, it is the religious right everyone understands to be the target. But “everyone” in this case is actually limited to a small group of liberals in the US, namely progressives.
    There are whole swaths of liberal Christians out there who want nothing to do with “Fuck Jesus!” as a calling card, not to mention the juvenile attitudes that go with it. Mocking Christianity in America is a liberal progressive gig and is in no way representative of how most Americans, even most “enlightened and educated” liberals, approach the subject. After all, they are aware that it isn’t just old white guys who do their prayers. It’s African Americans, Hispanics, to mention the most obvious.
    How come we never hear anyone taking on the African American community in California for its outsized collective support of prop 8? or for the many African Americans who see (as President Obama did until he “evolved”) gay marriage a morally wrong, based upon their Christian beliefs? Haters all!

    Mocking Christians in America is a combination of two-facedness, juvenile antics, and – irony of ironies – ignorance.

    • David L.

      Yeah, religion is the absolute antithesis of ignorance. ;)

    • http://spacegod.tumblr.com/ spacegod

      I don’t think you understand why most people bash Christians.
      It’s because of what Christians say and do.

    • Victor_the_Crab

      Boo-fucking-hoo, joeywhiner. A lot of Christian groups go out of their way to see to it that their faith – and how they interpret it – is shoved down society’s throats, whether it’s through schools, health and science, public office, etc. And they get all butthurt whenever they get called out on their actions, whining that they’re being persecuted like no other group in America.

      It may be hard for someone like you to fathom, but a whole swath of people across society just aren’t in the mood to be “saved”.

    • Lady Willpower

      I’m a Christian but I still make fun of Christians. Specifically, the fundies. because they simply can’t keep their nose out of my business. If all Christians were the decent, mild-mannered folk you’d like to pretend they are we’d have many fewer problems with them.

      It’s the xenophobic, homophobic, misogynist whackos who are making the most noise and getting the most blowback. You see that, right? The ones who think THEIR faith must reign supreme, who want THEIR faith to be taught in schools. They make a lot of noise about how we must allow prayer in schools, but funny how they only mean a certain kind of prayer.

    • televoid

      Yeah, I try not to mock religion, but I completely understand why some people do. I was lucky enough to be raised by “good” progressive-minded Christians. I don’t have any major anger towards religion, so for me, ridiculing faith doesn’t accomplish much. But I know plenty of folks whose young lives were majorly fucked up by religion. The poor application of it, sure, but they’re still completely justified in feeling the need to rage/mock/ridicule. Dismissing that as juvenile is an awfully superficial read on the situation.

      And I’m going to ignore all that racist shit towards the end of your post.

    • MikeH

      I love how every right-winger cites Andre Serrano as proof of some double standard of religious intolerance. There are probably more right-wingers who know Andre Serrano than most art appreciators do. Andre Serrano is a lifelong christian. And, no, you still can’t flush a koran down a toilet , or use the N-word…

  • Razor

    Tebow wasn’t “kicked to the curb” because he’s Christian, he was kicked to the curb because he’s a terrible football player.

    I guarantee the majority of NFL players are openly Christian, they’re just not douchey about it. And Tebow doing work with anti-choicers makes his particular brand of Christianity very much malignant.

    • trgahan

      Within the NFL the Christian Players Association is the largest and probably the second most powerful player organization after the union. Ever been to game and noticed right after the game the huge knee down prayer circle (“Tebowing”
      before Tebow was even born) full of players from both teams on the 50 yard line?
      That’s them. They have been around the league for decades and activity
      evangelize in locker rooms.

      As another football mad friend of mine put it; the problem with Tebow wasn’t necessarily anything he did or said, it was the projection by American Conservative Christians on him which framed this one QB’s career as: Anything he did right equals a victory for the American Conservative Christian lifestyle and (as we see here) any criticism of Tebow (even something totally technical like his horrid throwing motion) is taken as a direct attack on the American Conservative Evangelical Christian lifestyle.

  • JozefAL

    Well, there’s also the “Tebowing” deal that led to Tebow’s being so frequently mocked. If the man had been a little less fervent about making such a showy display of his religious faith ONLY when he made a good play, he might not have been mocked as he was.

    As less-than-Christian observers noted at the time, had an openly Muslim player, especially a quarterback, made a successful play and fell prostrate to the ground, bowing towards Mecca, the religious right who were so busy defending Tebow’s Christianity would have had a collective heart attack and called the head of the NFL to ban such ostentatious displays on the field. (It’s likely that many Muslim leaders would also have objected to such bowing since it would come off as deliberately counter to the intent of prayer which is to praise God, rather than advertise one’s self.)

  • Christopher Foxx

    there is often common ground if you attempt to see things from their perspective

    Always is. And they have to attempt to view things from your perspective, too.

    Aye, there’s the rub.

    • Scopedog

      Yep. And it’s the hardest thing to do.

  • http://www.osborneink.com/ OsborneInk

    The reason I make fun of Tim Tebow is that he ascribed his collegiate football success to Jesus rather than his own hard work and skill. I consider that a false modesty, equally harmful as if he’d blamed a hurricane on God. And we know that it’s a false modesty because once he got out of the college game, where his particular running offense skills do very well, and into the pro game where passing is dominant, Tebow never got back to that level of success.

    Why does Jesus give him success in the NCAA and not the NFL? Is Jesus just a capricious prick, or are two completely different skill-sets involved, so that we can’t blame or credit Jesus at all? I say the latter is true, but ya’ll know I’m into empirical evidence.

  • David L.

    Good piece, Ben. I love how one of the twhiners capitalizes ‘His’ in recognition of Tebow’s divine nature.

    That aside, as Christopher Hitchens put it:

    Mockery of religion is one of the most essential things… one of the beginnings of human emancipation is the ability to laugh at authority.

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/fighting_words/2006/02/cartoon_debate.html

  • Jason E

    Religion, bigotry and hate are all things that children learn from their families and communities. I know there are people who become religious later in life, but I think it’s rare and usually related to some sort of recovery where they need a community to turn to. If you are not religious but want to be part of a community, I would recommend the Unitarian Church. They are open to all faiths, former believers and non-believers. They do a lot of good in local communities, promote good stewardship of the environment and actively promote social justice and equality.

    • David L.

      I have nothing against Unitarians, but every time I see their name I can’t help but think of Wolfe’s The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, and how they got punk’d by the Merry Pranksters back in the day.

      • http://www.osborneink.com/ OsborneInk

        Q: what do you get when you combine a Unitarian with a Klansman?

        A: a burning question-mark.

      • Jason E

        Far out, Man.