Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Things change, I guess.

When I was little -- like, four years old or so -- my family moved from Ohio to Florida. We lived in a suburb of Tampa called Brandon, before moving to Indiana in 1980. Here are the things I remember from my two years in Florida:
  • It was hot and humid. All the time.
  • My brother had a lava lamp in his room. One night when we were having a sleep over, I think with our cousin Karen who was down from Ohio to visit, we were laying in the dark, watching the lava-lampy pattern on the wall when it suddenly started to move more skitterishly and freaktastically. We chose to turn on the overhead light to discover a couple roaches -- like, huge roaches; Jurassic roaches -- had found their way into the house to terrorize us.
  • Our next-door neighbors had one or more English bulldogs who ended up dead in their swimming pool, because apparently English bulldogs can't swim and neighbors who are hicks can't figure out how to barricade off their swimming pool from their non-swimming dogs. (Literally, one of my more vivid memories of my time in Florida is of the little girl next door running from their house to ours, screaming -- and this is a direct, screamy quote -- "My English bulldog's dead! My English bulldog's dead! My English bulldog's dead!")
  • The other-side neighbors lived in a very cool, modern-architecture-looking house. I think they had a Doberman.
  • The across-the-street neighbors were awesome older folks who served almost as in loco grandparentis. I got birthday cards from Mrs. Harding for almost 30 years.
  • One time when playing tag at dusk, I was looking behind me at It and I looked ahead of me just in time to run forehead-first into a tree in our yard. I still remember how it jarred my head -- a genuine "thunk."
  • I went to preschool at Bell Shoals Baptist Church, which is now Bell Shoals Baptist megachurch. At Bell Shoals Preschool, I learned the song that you may have heard me perform previously at Carnegie Hall or elsewhere: 

Sadly, it turns out that the Bell Shoals community doesn't believe that God made everyone special. Only I and people like me are special, apparently. Those who are different from us can go jump in a lake.

The church that taught me that God loves me and that God created me to be a unique and worthy person -- the church that taught me a song about God's love for me, which I have remembered for more than 30 years -- has now decided to change its 10 vending machines from Pepsi products to Coke products, on account of Pepsi's support of marriage equality for same-sex couples

Which, come on:
  1. Even if they're going to be big enough hypocrites to judge whose relationship God will or will not bless (which, churchily, is a BIG "if"), is soda really the battleground you want to take on?
  2. Ten vending machines is not going to make a difference to Pepsi's bottom line, and I do not believe the Community Issues Council, whatever that is, has enough pull to influence others to follow suit.
  3. As rated by the Human Rights Campaign, Coke is as much a supporter of same-sex relationships as Pepsi. Both scored 100 on the HRC's Corporate Equality Index.
In conclusion, I, who am in the privileged majority in every sense, am disappointed in the people who taught me an enduring song about God's love for me, as they now turn their back on "the least of these" who need as much love and support as any other of God's beloved children.


jss said...

That's funny that your top memories of that time would be my exact same memories. I remember feeling so bad for you when you whacked into that tree - though at 9 years old probably didn't show it. I would have to add the memories of the dog biting Ricky VanMeter and me, Hugh Hicks coming over with the sickle to remove a snake from the garage carriage light, and the tornado that ripped through the back yard.

Oh, and those people who taught you to sing your song aren't the same as the people who are there now. They may have the same names and bodies, but sadly they're not the same people.

Esmerelda said...

A number of years ago a good friend of mine worked for Disney in HR. While he was there they extended domestic partner benefits to same sex couples and all the Disney Boycotting ensued. When I asked him why he did it he said that Disney had to be competitive in the work market. They were losing too many employees to Paramount and Universal etc.

I believe, dear Scott, that actions like this churches are the last last gasps of a dying minority. It all seems to be unraveling for them (I mean come on. Iowa has same sex marriage.)

Your list of memories of FLorida was beautiful. Dead dog in the pool and all. You should consider a memoir, book or short story. All good.

Oh and that Red remover game! Total time suck. Thanks a lot!