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Church & Politics
Episode 126th September 2020 • Nathan OUTloud • Nathan Treanor
00:00:00 00:18:53

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Religion and politics are two topics that we are told that we should avoid discussing, but in this episode of Nathan OUTloud I am facing them both head-on.

The Season Two premiere of Nathan OUTloud comes about eight years since the last episode was released. I set aside the light and cheery tone of previous episodes to discuss the real issues being faced by the LGBTQ+ community at the hands of organized religion and the Republican Party. I share my experience of alienation and gaslighting from growing up in a Mormon and Republican family.

Links to articles and movies that I mention in the episode:

“The Mormon Church Is Gaslighting the LGBTQ+ Community” by Kat Kellermeyer: https://www.out.com/commentary/2019/9/19/mormon-church-gaslighting-lgbtq-community

“11 Warning Signs of Gaslighting” by Stephanie A. Sarkis Ph.D.: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/here-there-and-everywhere/201701/11-warning-signs-gaslighting

For the Bible Tells Me So: http://www.forthebibletellsmeso.org/indexc.htm

For They Know Not What They Do: https://www.fortheyknow.org

Thank you for listening! If you have any feedback, would like to share your story, or just want to say hello! Email me at comments@nathanoutloud.com, or call the Nathan OUTloud listener line at (802) 32-BE-OUT. Follow me on twitter @nathanoutloud and on Facebook at facebook.com/nathanoutloudfans. Please be sure to subscribe to the show wherever you listen to podcasts.

Come OUT | Be OUT | Live OUTloud

Transcripts

Nathan:

It has been about eight years since the last episode of Nathan OUTloud. So, why am I bringing it back? First off, let me start by saying that this will probably one of the most difficult episodes that I have or will ever record and I am feeling incredibly vulnerable as I actually start recording it. I have to warn you, this episode is not going to be as light and cheery as previous episodes. What a way to start off season two, right?! I will be challenging religious and political views in pretty stark terms. But, this is necessary for me to speak my truth and use my voice, consequences be damned. I truly hope that those who have experienced the same struggle and suffering will feel less alone or isolated. I also hope that I can open the hearts and minds of those who are members of the organizations I discuss or hold the same beliefs. I don’t say this to cause pain, I say it so that I can start heal the deep wounds inflicted by religion and harmful politics.

So, back to why Nathan OUTloud is back. This is something that I have thought a lot about and there are a number of reasons why I wanted to relaunch the podcast. Over the past four years, I feel like I have been internalizing the fraught times that the current political climate has brought upon the LGBT community, most specifically transgender people. As I was considering relaunching Nathan OUTloud, I had a thought that, “I have silenced myself. I took away my own voice. And I have a platform to share stories, and to expose people to the inequity that our community experiences.” I have felt that I have not been doing enough to speak out against inequality and up for those who can’t speak up for themselves. There was a point several weeks ago during an exchange with members of my family about the Black Lives Matter movement, protests, and systemic racism, when I decided that I could no longer be silent and started to push back on harmful, hurtful, and inaccurate information, the repercussions were surprising. It reminded me how fragile the security some people feel is when their belief system is challenged. I have to say, I feel like I am living in an upside down world where, a vocal minority considers people who are against fascist and those who are protesting against racial inequality and for social justice are terrorists and those who are anti-mask, conspiracy theorists, and white supremacist are patriots & very fine people.

I have been thinking a lot about how I can most effectively communicate two specific feelings that I have experienced for most of my life, because of the religion to which my family belongs and the political party and elected officials that they support. Alienation and gaslighting.

in California in:

First, I want to talk about alienation, which is defined as the state or experience of being isolated from a group or an activity to which one should belong or in which one should be involved. Ever since I stopped being active in the church, I have felt a sense of alienation from some my family, as I have not been able to participate in some of the most meaningful times in their lives. From not being able to witness them get married to feeling like an outsider when it comes to their shared experiences around their religion. It can be a pretty lonely and isolating experience. On top of that, I have been reluctant to include members of my family in important and meaningful experiences that I have had, out of fear of rejection, or in an effort to protect them from being uncomfortable because of their religious or political views.

I have spent a lot of time thinking about gaslighting because of the current political climate and especially since reading an article that was published on out.com last September called, “The Mormon Church Is Gaslighting the LGBTQ+ Community”. The author of that piece, KAT KELLERMEYER, will be joining me on a future episode of Nathan OUTloud and I really look forward to discussing the article with them, but in the meantime, I am going to talk about my experience and why that article struck a cord with me.

First off, what is Gaslighting? The dictionary defines it like this: to manipulate (someone) by psychological means into questioning their own sanity. Let me start by saying, I honestly don’t think the gaslighting is an intentional or conscious act, but it is a consequence of the conflict between unequivocal conviction and the reality of an ever changing world. Then again, maybe I am continuing to try to justify it. There is a good article on psychologytoday.com called “11 Warning Signs of Gaslighting” that breaks it down even further.

A few of the points that stood out to me from that article are:

Number 3 in the article is: They use what is near and dear to you as ammunition. In my case, it has always been my family and the thought of not having them in my life, has always been a deterrent for me to speak out.

Number 5 is Their actions don’t match their words and Number 6 is They throw in positive reinforcement to confuse you, kind go hand in hand for me. My family has always communicated their love for me. They say how proud they are of me. And that despite what their church or political party say, they support marriage equality. There was also an occasion when my mom and sisters attended a Human Rights Campaign gala that I co-chaired, to show their support for me. I honestly do not think that they were insincere in their support for me personally. But they continue to go to church, continue to pay their 10% tithing, and go on and send their children on missions to convert people to the religion that teaches that I am a sinner, an apostate, and somebody who, unless I miraculously change who I am and who I love, won’t be admitted into the level of heaven that they are striving to achieve in the after-life.

thers, their rallying cry. In:

It continues: “All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.”

It goes on from there, but I think you get the idea… This document still hangs on the walls of the homes of people within my own family.

For the longest time I would say, my issue isn’t with Mormons, but with the Mormon Church. But I realize now that I have been letting too many people off the hook. Don’t get me wrong, a vast majority of Mormons are good and earnest people. And I love my family with all of my heart. The paradox is that despite the constant assertions of love and support, I walk into homes and see anti-LGBT doctrine hanging on the wall. I know that every Sunday they take their children to church, who will hear others say that there is something wrong with me or that I have chosen to be gay and if they just pray hard enough, maybe I can be saved. I know that they are giving the church 10% tithing, which funds anti-LGBT programs and doctrine, and they do missionary work and spread the anti-LGBT teachings of the church. Maybe not directly repeating the doctrine, but merely introducing people to the church, implicitly supporting it.

nation legislation in Utah in:

Don’t get me wrong, this is not unique to the Mormon Church and there are a number of courageous members of the church who are vocal in their opposition to the Church’s anti-LGBTQ doctrine. The problem is that while there are members who are opposed to these teachings, they continue to unequivocally support the church with their tithing, attendance, and proselytizing. Frankly, the Church has always taught that in order to be faithful and a member in good standing, you had to believe all of the doctrine. You can’t pick and choose!

In season one of Nathan OUTloud, I spoke with Daniel Karslake about his movie, For the Bible Tells Me So, which I strongly recommend watching. Recently, Dan released, For They Know Not What They Do, which is available to rent or purchase on Apple TV or Amazon Prime. Just the title alone really resonates with me for some of the reasons I have already mentioned. I would recommend that for anyone who feel conflicted between their religion and LGBTQ issues, or anyone who has experienced trauma in the name of religion. Daniel will also be joining me on an upcoming episode of Nathan OUTloud, so be sure to subscribe to the podcast, so you don’t miss that episode.

We’ll be right back.

Welcome back to Nathan OUTloud. I am Nathan Treanor.

Now, let’s talk about the marginalization of the LGBTQ community by the Republican Party. While I could probably devote a whole series to the history of anti-LGBT orthodoxy of the GOP, I would like to focus on what is going on today and why voting for any Republican, as musician Kacey Musgrove recently said, is an act of violence against the LGBTQ+ community.

draft a new platform for the:

Regarding marriage equality; “Our laws and our government’s regulations should recognize marriage as the union of one man and one woman … We do not accept the Supreme Court’s redefinition of marriage and we urge its reversal.” This is despite the fact that support for marriage equality is at an all time high with over 2/3rds of Americans supporting it.

The GOP’s platform supports Trump’s efforts to legalize anti-LGBTQ discrimination by invalidating the recent Supreme Court ruling that sexual orientation and gender identity are included as protected classes under sex discrimination laws. A ruling that 72% of Americans support.

The GOP platform endorses Trump’s cruel and widely unpopular ban on transgender people from serving openly in the military. This ban undermines military readiness and troop cohesion and over 70% of Americans support the right for all LGBT service-members to serve openly.

Finally, the GOP platform endorses discrimination against LGBTQ parents, families, students, workers, individuals experiencing homelessness, and customers.

The GOP platform reads: “We endorse the First Amendment Defense Act, Republican legislation in the House and Senate which will bar government discrimination against individuals and businesses for acting on the belief that marriage is the union of one man and one woman.”

ations, which is evident in a:

These examples do not even scratch the surface of the anti-LGBTQ legislation that the GOP has tried to pass in every level of government. Thankfully, public opinion is on our side and along with the activism of our community and our allies, we have been able to fight a number of these attacks back. But we cannot be complacent. The moment we do, anti-LGBTQ politicians and religious leaders will be prepared to try again. So, we must vote, and hold our elected officials accountable.

Now, I understand that there are some aspects of the Republican Party platform that motivate people to identify as or vote for Republicans. Frankly, many of those positions are abstract ideals and are rooted in privilege and supremacy. They do not directly impact the lives and daily decisions that a majority of Republican voters face. In fact, because of their privilege, they may never have to make difficult decisions or have experiences that many marginalized people struggle with on a daily basis, whether it be reproductive freedom, gun violence, the lack of access to quality and affordable healthcare, food insecurity, poverty, clean water and air, and the list goes on and on. For the LGBT community, the anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and ideology of the GOP, and most organized religions, impacts our daily lives, our freedom, our ability to be productive and contributing members of society, and at times, have life and death consequences.

I don’t know why, but I am still constantly astonished that self-proclaimed Christians continue to support and have committed their devotion to the Trump Republican Party. The constant vitriol, lack of empathy, lies, hypocrisy, destain for truth, and the corruption that is so prevalent in party of Trump, to which all elected Republicans have demonstrated their fealty, is in direct opposition to the teachings of Christ, at least the teachings that I remember from primary and Sunday school.

I have a question to conclude this dialogue: Has there ever been a single day in your life that the religion and political party that a majority of your family belongs to and wholeheartedly supports, caused you mental, emotional, and even physical harm? Not a single day? Now imagine it being your whole life. I don’t say this to play the victim, or for pity, or even for an apology. No, I say it as a challenge for everyone to do better. Because it would break my heart if any of your children had to grow up experiencing the same pain, gaslighting, and alienation.

I would like to end this episode with a call to action and urge everyone to vote in the upcoming election. We have to take our country back from the vile, corrupt, and patently treacherous president, Republican held Senate, and Statehouses across the country. Please take a couple of minutes right now and go to vote.org to make a plan to vote. Start by confirming that your voter registration information is active and accurate. If you are eligible and want to vote by mail, request your ballot right away, and when you receive it, fill it out, sign it, and get it back in the mail as quickly as possible. You can also vote early, some states have already started voting. If you plan on voting on Election Day, be prepared for long lines and be sure you are willing and able to do whatever it takes to cast your ballot. Again, go to vote.org right now and make your plan to vote. I know that it is overused, but this is absolutely the most consequential election in recent history.

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Until then, Come OUT, Be OUT, Live OUTloud!