Dear Mississippi

The following is an open letter written in response to the Mississippi Senate's passing of HB 1253; a bill that would allow clerks to deny same-sex marriage licenses to gay couples due to their religious beliefs:

Dear Mississippi,

We are in a very dysfunctional relationship. I defend you, stand by you, promote you all over the world, and you’ve made yourself, once again, indefensible.

Tennessee Williams was your son…a gay man who wrote of your mighty river and deeply complex characters. Now, he could be denied a cup of coffee by a so-called “religious” business.

Muddy Waters and BB King were your sons. They gave us sounds the world had never heard, but you called them “boy” and wouldn’t let them ride your buses. You also used religion to defend this position.

Cat Cora is your daughter. She celebrates your blended history in her food, while your other daughter, Tig Notaro, reinvents story telling and makes us laugh at the same time. They would not be welcome in your restaurants or your theatres.

Nina Simone wrote a song about you in 1964. Do you remember? Your name was in the title, so you should. She said “All I want is equality for my sister, my brother, my people, and me.”

Have you learned nothing?

You are last in education, yet you focus your resources on hateful and unproductive legislation, rather than educating all of us.

You have more churches per capita than any other state in America, yet you are the least Christ-like in your voting, and you continue to exclude those who you deem different and undeserving of your love and freedoms.

You will continue being the butt of the joke. You will continue to lose big business and enterprise. You will eventually lose all of us, Mississippi. You will one day wake up, and your special sons and daughters will have left you. All alone to grow old, surrounded by hate you have mistaken for heritage, which slowly, but surely, will rot away with you. Meanwhile, we will change minds, tell stories, laugh, kiss, and make new homes that celebrate and appreciate us. Our new homes will not be ashamed of us. Nor will it persecute us because of who we love, the color of our skin, or our gender. We will find community and home with those who celebrate our hearts and souls. We will continue to leave you, not because we wanted to, but because you kicked us out of the house.

Don’t claim the special you have exiled once they achieve greatness. They have done it in spite of you, not because of you.

It is with great sadness that I write this letter to you. I hope for an awakening and a change, but until then, I cannot defend you any longer.

With Love, 

Your Daughter McGhee 

In the defense of CHRISTianity

I am a Christian. I hold a Religious Studies degree from the University of Mississippi. And I need to speak up for my faith and her people. With the Supreme Court ruling, there has been much response from Christians condemning this historic and monumental ruling, and I want to voice my opinion, academically as well as faithfully, about what I believe, and address some Scripture, in regards to homosexuality. It's also important to note that Jesus, you know, Jesus CHRIST, the person the whole religion is named after, not once mentions homosexuality in his teachings.

Many Christians who oppose homosexuality, lean and rely on a verse in Leviticus. Leviticus (which is also the 3rd book of 5 in the Jewish Torah) is basically a book of rules. Most believe written by Moses to the Levites, instructing them how to live. The rules are endless, including:

"'If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads. 
Leviticus 20:13

This is the verse that some Christians use when they argue that homosexuality is sinful and against God. However, let's explore other verses in Leviticus. Other "rules" in the same book which have equally clear and direct messages:

“Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the Lord.” 
Leviticus 19:28

Eating of Shellfish: 
“And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you.”
Leviticus 11:10

Let's look at a couple of verses outside of Leviticus too…

Women who are not virgins on their wedding night: 
The woman must be taken to the door of her father's home, and there the men of the town must stone her to death, for she has committed a disgraceful crime in Israel by being promiscuous while living in her parents' home. In this way, you will purge this evil from among you.
Deuteronomy 22:21

Gluttons/Fat People: 
and put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony.
Proverbs 23:2

In the support of slavery: 
Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ.
Ephesians 6:5

So my questions to Christians opposing homosexuality:

Do you have tattoos? 
Do you think slavery is a good idea? 
Are you overweight? 
Do you enjoy crab? 
Were you a virgin (or did you marry a non virgin) when you got married?

And let's say that you do abide by all of the above rules. Why aren't you going after the overweight and the tatoo'd??? Why aren't you rounding up and killing non virgins? The verse in Leviticus about homosexuality carries the same weight as the verses listed above. So why have you chosen to ignore these other rules? I believe it has nothing to do with your faith, or our God. I think it has to do with your own beliefs. The house you were raised in. Your experiences. Even possibly, desires that you are ashamed of having.

If you don't support gay marriage, FINE! You are completely entitled to that, but all I ask is this: do not use my God, and cherry pick His sacred and ancient texts to support your hate, unless you're ready to explain how you are habitually "sinning" and violating Biblical teachings.

Own up to whatever reason you dislike same sex unions. I'm tired of you blaming my God.

God is love. 
1 John 4:8

*This was originally posted to my personal Facebook page after the Supreme Court Ruled Gay Marriage Legal in 2015.*