Thursday, November 5, 2009
Thursday, October 15, 2009
1. Crimes are already crimes and do not need federal law to make certain the states prosecute crimes. It is wrong to criminalize the motive of homophobic criminals who bash and kill because they hate queers (even the Bible teaches that God hates homosexual behavior)
2. Hate crime law MAY have a chilling effect on pastors after the first pastor is called to testify in a hate crimes trial .... NOT that the pastor who preaches homophobic hatred will be in criminal trouble ... but the very fact that a pastor MAY be called to testify will make other pastors self-censor themselves.
Therefore the hate crimes law is bad.
Of course, the ADF brought up the case of the pavilion in New Jersey and the photographer in New Mexico. Let's deal with those cases quickly.
In New Mexico, a state with an anti-discrimination law covering sexual orientation, a woman was open for business as a photographer. A lesbian emailed her and asked for a quote on photographs for her commitment ceremony. The photographer emailed that she did not photograph homosexual events.
This was clearly the case of a public business discriminating against customers based on their sexual orientation. The Human Rights Commission of NM found her discriminating and fined her $6,000+. She has appealed. How dare the government NOT allow her the Christian right to discriminate against queers? I am fairly certain she will lose on appeal. After all, Christians do not have the right to refuse to do business with Latinos or Blacks or Whites. Christian businesses do not have the right to refuse to do business with Muslims or Pagans. Businesses open to the public should NOT have the right to refuse to do business with glbt persons.
In New Jersey, a Methodist organization received PUBLIC money AND a tax exemption to fix and open a pavilion on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean. The PUBLIC money and the PUBLIC tax exemption were awarded the Methodist organization on the grounds that the pavilion would be open to the PUBLIC.
A gay couple wanted to hold their commitment ceremony at the pavilion. The Methodist organization refused. Since the Methodists CHOSE to renege on their agreement that the pavilion was open to the public for public use, the government withdrew its tax exemption for the pavilion. You cannot take PUBLIC money and then refuse to offer services to the PUBLIC.
Reminds of the Catholics saying they had to close their adoption services in Massachusetts or else they would be forced to place kids in gay and lesbian households. In fact they did close ... BUT what they fail to say is that the Catholics were receiving PUBLIC money for their adoption services. It was the PUBLIC money that was at issue, not the Catholic's beliefs. You cannot discriminate IF you receive PUBLIC funds.
Mormons on the other hand run a successful adoption agency in Massachusetts that absolutely refuses to place a child with a gay person. BUT there is NO PUBLIC money involved ... the Mormons pay their own way. It remains legal in Massachusetts to discriminate as a church operation IF you pay your own way.
Back to hate crime law. The conservative host and the ADF pointed to Matthew Shepard's case where the murderers are serving life sentences. No hate crime law needed, right?
What they did NOT mention was the case of Sean Kennedy of South Carolina. A clear case of homophobic murder ... the killer even left a phone message explaining that he had killed a faggot. What happened to this young white killer in SC? He served a few MONTHS in prison and then went free. 1951? 1968? 1987? NO! This was less than 24 months ago ... 2007 in Greenville South Carolina. Tell me justice would not have better served by a federal prosecution.
What he Right refuses to recognize is the chilling effect any gay bashing has on ALL gays and lesbians. This past weekend in Queens NYC, a gay man was brutally attacked as he left a convenience store in his neighborhood at 3:00 AM. They have arrested the attackers though the victim remains in an induced coma.
This crime on the other side of the country, at a time I am normally asleep has a chilling effect on my behavior and life. NOTHING terrifies more than seeing two or more white males between the ages of 14 and 30 on the street. Young white homophobes attack and kill almost every month of the year. Every time I hear of such an attack, it makes me fearful in my own community. Hate crimes have a chilling effect on the glbt community and make us all afraid. They deserve to be federal crime so they are properly prosecuted in EVERY state ... even South Carolina.
The ADF lawyer and the conservative host bemoaned the fact that the hate crime law makes them "second class citizens" because they believe homosexuality is sinful and wrong and to be put down in society. They are absolutely correct. And it is about time. I am tired of being a second or third class citizen because of who I am. It is about time the homophobes became second class citizens based on their CHOICE to hate homosexuals.
SC and similar states need the hate crimes law to put murderers of gays and lesbians in prison. I and all gay men and lesbians need the hate crime law to protect our own sense of safety.
The religious Reich is FREE to continue to preach and broadcast their hate. I have NO problem with that, none at all. I strongly support the 1st amendment. BUT just like racists are now second class citizens in this country, it is time homophobes joined them ... along with those who consider women 2nd class to men.
BTW ... RELIGIOUS ANIMUS is covered in the hate crime bill. Anyone who desecrates a church for, let's say, giving money to Proposition 8, can be prosecuted under the federal law. BUT when was the last time you heard the relious right or the conservative right bemoan that fact? Yeah, I thought so.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
He spent most school months with George and Amy Guy in Richmond. Amy was a pioneer working woman making a career of Goodwill Industries. My Dad was a latch key child. For the summers, the Smith family (originally from South Hill VA) gathered and negotiated who got my Dad for the vacation months. He would eavesdrop on the stairwell - listening as others defined his fate. It was rare that anyone came forward willingly to care for Dad.
But Dad made a happy childhood for himself. He really enjoyed model airplanes - the large kind that fly with gasoline engines. When he was a mere 16 years old he went to a high school football game. There he met a 15 year old girl named Mary Lee from his school's rival. This morning Mary Lee held the hand of the man she loved for more than 70 years. Neither of them ever looked for love in anyone else after that fateful ball game. She called him Minor or Sweetie or Honey.
After World War II broke out, my parents got engaged. Like all other men, my Dad joined the Armed Services as soon as possible. Dad memorized the eye chart for the Navy recruiter so he could sign up as a pilot in the Navy.
Prior to deployment, my Dad took my Mom to visit his father in North Carolina. Along the way, they decided to elope. Mom had a friend in Greensboro so there they drove. At the marriage license bureau, Mom had to fudge her 20 years into 21 years in order to legally marry. My parents stood before a Methodist minister, with Mom's friend as a bridesmaid, and became man and wife forever. They telegraphed Mom's parents, intending to say "Married in NC. Very happy. Home soon." However the Western Union clerk was either slack or mischievous. My grandparents got this telegram from Mom:
"Marooned in NC. Very happy. Home soon." Mom's folks were quite worried about the morals and safety of their only daughter until she showed up with a wedding ring.
And Dad went to war.
He trained in Florida and San Diego CA before heading to the Pacific theater of war. He flew a single prop Hellcat plane off the deck of an air carrier - the US Langley. He only shared with his family glimpses of his experience.
He spent one New Year's in Hawaii. There the guys made a punch with all the liquor anyone had and pineapple juice. Dad said, "And to this day, I can't stand the taste of pineapple juice!"
After flying very low and strafing enemy territory, Dad's Hellcat had mud covering the US insignia. When he flew back to the carrier, they refused to let him anywhere near the carrier. The Navy feared Dad was a Japanese kamikaze plan. Dad said he had to name a lot of baseball players and the winners of several World Series before they believed he really was Lt. MCS.
During the war, Mom followed Dad as long as he was in the USA. She drove across the continent with one friend to be with Dad in California. The war ended, Dad was returned to San Diego, and my older brother Mike was born in 1946.
Dad and Mom returned to Virginia where Dad enrolled in VPI under the GI Bill. With a tight budget the young couple lived in a two story home with the heating stove on the first floor. Many a morning my parents awoke to find Mike happy as a clam with his diapers frozen firmly to his butt.
Receiving a degree in Mechanical Engineering, Dad took his wife and son back to Richmond VA. He began working as an engineer for a local company. In 1951, I came along. I had a minor birth defect - but Mom and Dad moved mountains to see that I was made good as new by the respected Dr. Butterworth. Almost as soon as my last operation, my twin brothers Rob and Dave were born - 22 months younger than I. Of course, I was jealous of the attention given these invaders and immediately forgot all my toilet training. So Dad spent most of his time off changing diapers and tosses kids into the air to hear them squeal with delight.
Around 1956, Dad began working for the DuPont Corporation. He eventually retired from his career there. Dad was first assigned to Waynesboro VA through my elementary school years, then Wilmington Delaware for my junior high years, then Camden South Carolina for my high school and college, then Newark Delaware where Dad retired.
Dad invented the term "Minimum Adequate" for the company and his sons. "Minimum Adequate" means you do not necessarily purchase the most expensive item to meet your needs. Nor do you necessarily go with the lowest bidder or price. You purchase that which minimally meets your exact needs - you get the best price possible for that which is adequate for the job. Dad saved DuPont a lot of money with this idea.
Dad was also in a large meeting one day with lots of chemists in research and lots of managers of the various artificial yarns DuPont made. My Dad was explaining that if certain workers turned off their equipment when it was not in use, the company would save thousands of dollars. The folks in the yarn industry snoozed. My Dad asked one derider of his proposal what the goal of that DuPont plant was? The guy answered: "To make nylon." My Dad looked him straight in the eye and said, "Your wrong. The goal of this DuPont plant is to make money!" Dad won the day and equipment use was changed.
Dad not only worked - he came home as husband and father. Every year he took he took Rob and Dave and me to Little League tryouts. Every year we were cut and cut first. So Dad enrolled us in the "farm league" program for other baseball losers. Every summer he came to game after game in support of his sons. On the first night of summer vacation, after dinner, the sons met Dad at the picnic table in the back yard. There he used electric razors to buzz our heads of hair for our summer of fun. It was a nice and practical ritual.
Through the divorces, alcoholism, drug use, coming out, flunking out of college, dropping out of college, and all the other stuff four sons put their parents through in the 60's and 70's, my Dad never for one moment stopped loving all of usand doing every thing within his power to "make it right."
I also need to say that my Dad always and everywhere loved my Mom. We boys faced a solid front. There was no playing one parent off another - they were a solid front. To us, they were Mom and Dad. To neighbors, they were Mary Lee and Minor. Theirs was a most solid marriage.
Dad treated every woman his sons married as a daughter from the day of the engagement. He never had a daughter-in-law, only more children to love. With divorce most of his grandchildren's mothers drifted away. But one, Julie, stayed close to my Dad until he died this morning. As a young bride, Julie called Dad "Father Christmas" because of his generous and loving ways. In later years she felt free to call him Minor.
Dad was a good friend to neighbors and pals. He also instilled acceptance in his sons. In Waynesboro one next door neighbor was a lovely Jewish family at a time where anti-semitism was just dying away in polite society. Mom and Dad treated them with respect and dignity and interest. We were honored to attend some Jewish religious observations and festivals in their home - as they were welcome in ours. Our other next door neighbor was a family of refuges from Cuba. Again Dad accepted them and found interest in their story and way of living. He brought us up to respect differences and to accept people as they are - until their actions prove them untrustworthy.
When Dad married my Mom, he asked only one thing of her ... he asked her to be home when the children got home from school. He made certain his childhood was not repeated - all four of us felt wanted and secure and loved all our lives. And Dad had one life goal for himself - he wanted to put all four sons through college. And he did. I will be forever grateful to Mom and Dad for that gift,
After retirement, my Dad and Mom got a 5 month old miniature poodle they named Sandy. Every day possible, Dad and Sandy would take a five mile walk. At night Sandy sometimes had trouble deciding to snuggle up with my Mom or to snooze in Dad's lap. He was definitely Dad's boy until his death a few years ago.
In retirement Dad loved to play golf and to travel. He and Mom visited their sons in Alaska and South Carolina and took a trip driving across country. He also loved playing generous host to family and friends - especially during the holidays. "Father Christmas" was a good name for Dad.
I offer all my love and deepest sympathy to my Mom. I know how very, very lonely she will be. I know how lonely I am for Steve.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
"But what do you think happens after we die?" I asked. I had been struggling with this question since the death of my beloved husband.
Dad added, "I look forward to seeing my Mother."
And that is all my Dad said about death - but it was enough. He did not need to say "look after your Mom" or "Be good" or to discuss financial or memorial arrangements. All that had already been taken care of and prepaid. My Dad was so responsible all his life. And he always took pains to insure that his whole family was well taken care of. In this final year, he did not need to do anything but act his final scene with us.
Today my Dad is dying. He fell a few weeks ago and broke a bone in his neck. He was hospitalized and then sent to hospice. He hated the nursing home and just wanted to come home. I believe it was his utter depression at not being home that caused him to stop eating at the nursing home. Dad was sent back to the hospital for IV's and nutrition. The family gathered.
A hospital bed was set up in the living room and an around the clock vigil was begun. There were 11 of the family gathered ... we all sat with Dad during the day. My sister Candy and I had the 10 pm to 4 am shift of the night. Such quiet hours. Such an awesome time.
It was such a rare honor and privilege to be able to feed and clean and care for this man who has loved me all my life. How I enjoyed each minute, each moment of sitting quietly with Dad. What joy it was to feed him, to give him drink, to move him as needed, to help clean him. Such an honor, such an awesome and joyous duty.
Mom and Dad - I love you.
Friday, September 11, 2009
Peter Labarbera, the homophobic leader of the hate group AFTAH, declares this exemplary of religious discrimination against christianists who wish to impose their bigotry on all society. He declares this as a good reason to oppose the Employment Nondiscrimination Act - i.e. he wants to discriminate against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people.
Mauceri, 59, a devout Christian, told FOX News that character Vega's gay-friendly dialogue was not in line with the character she helped create by drawing on her own faith.
"I did not object to being in a gay storyline. I objected to speaking the truth of what that person, how that person would live and breathe and act in that storyline," she said. "And this goes against everything I am, my belief system, and what I know the character's belief system is aligned to."
But Mauceri and Labarbera wre really missing the point. An actor does not write - that is what writers do. And actor repeats the lines written by the writers, under direction of the director to create a character with their acting talent. If an actor refuses to repeat the lines provided to the actor, then the actor ought to quit ar they will be fired ... not for religious discrimination, but for refusal to do their job.
And it is silly of an actor to believe they have the right to write their own lines. Mauceri had creative differences with her employer and she refused to do her job. Thus, she was fired.
Besides, she has been part of a soap opera - adultery, lies, manipulation, and often murder and other crimes are common fare for the soaps. Did Mauceri object when the story line included divorce? Adultery? Criminal acts? No, she only objected when a mother expressed unconditional love for her son who she believed to be gay. It was a mother's unconditional love that she found so "morally reprehensible" that she felt forced to stop doing her job.
Sounds like her own personal bigotry got in her way. Too bad. We all have bosses and we all have to do work assignments we do not like. Why should christianist bigots get any special rights?
This website is from the Metropolitan Community Church. The MCC has placed billboards along a major highway in Texas. Discussion is hot and heavy about these billboards - why? Because they teach the drivers that God and Jesus approve of gay and lesbian people AND their committed relationships. Yep, that would definitely start people talking in Texas or most anywhere in the USA.
This website gives the Biblical justifications, in plain English, for the proper translations from the original Greek and Hebrew. The creators of this website do not gag on gnats and swallow camels - they give clear, scholarly and quite faithful studies of the Bible and its support of gays and lesbians. This website also puts forward the proposition that Christians in the USA have been wrong before now - REALLY WRONG!
Some quotes from the website on human slavery:
Some quotes on Women Suffrage - giving women the right to vote in America:
"The doom of Ham has been branded on the form and features of his African descendants. The hand of fate has united his color and destiny. Man cannot separate what God hath joined." United States Senator James Henry Hammond
."[Slavery] was established by decree of Almighty God... it is sanctioned in the Bible, in both Testaments, from Genesis to Revelation... it has existed in all ages, has been found among the people of the highest civilization, and in nations of the highest proficiency in the arts." --Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America.
"The right of holding slaves is clearly established in the Holy Scriptures, both by precept and example." --Rev. R. Furman, D.D., Baptist, of South Carolina
"There is not one verse in the Bible inhibiting slavery, but many regulating it. It is not then, we conclude, immoral." Rev. Alexander Campbell
"The hope of civilization itself hangs on the defeat of Negro suffrage." -- statement by a prominent 19th-century southern Presbyterian pastor, cited by Rev. Jack Rogers, moderator of the Presbyterian Church (USA).
Council of Congregationalist Ministers of Massachusetts said:
On Interracial Marriage we learn:
"The appropriate duties and influence of woman are stated in the New Testament.... The power of woman is in her dependence, flowing from the consciousness of the weakness which God has given her for her protection.... When she assumes the place and tone of man as a public reformer... she yields the power which God has given her... and her character becomes unnatural."
Opponents even called into question the character of those who supported equality:
"Who demand the ballot for woman? They are not the lovers of God, nor are they believers in Christ, as a class. There may be exceptions, but the majority prefer an infidel's cheer to the favor of God and the love of the Christian community. It is because of this tendency that the majority of those who contend for the ballot for woman cut loose from the legislation of Heaven, from the enjoyments of home, and drift to infidelity and ruin." -- Justin Fulton, 1869, in opposition to women's right to vote.
Those who fought against women's suffrage most often used selected verses from Paul's writings to make their case. [ 1 Corinthians 11:3, 4, 7-9, 7-12, I Corinthians 14:34-35, 2 Timothy 3:1-7, Ephesians 5:22-24, and 1 Timothy 2:11-14.]
Here is what the judge in the state case wrote:To this list of Christian mistakes, I add:
"Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix. " -- Statement by Virginia trial judge in 1959 case that led to 1967 U.S. Supreme Court striking down laws in 16 states that prohibited interracial marriage.
- The Inquisition
- The forced conversion of Native Americans (all of the Americas) by the Conquistadors
- The whites of South Africa dearly held belief in apartheid
- The USA hesitancy to let women in colleges and universities and workplaces + the glass ceiling
- All Protestant vs Catholic religious wars from the Defeat of the Grand Armada by Elizabeth I to the recent war in Northern Ireland under Elizabeth II.
- And finally, the ongoing discrimination of gays and lesbians and transgender persons around the world, including the USA and the State of California.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
May 12, 2009
Dear Mr. President,
I wanted to write a few final words to you to express my gratitude for your repeated personal kindnesses to me – and one last time, to salute your leadership in giving our country back its future and its truth.
On a personal level, you and Michelle reached out to Vicki, to our family and me in so many different ways. You helped to make these difficult months a happy time in my life.
You also made it a time of hope for me and for our country.
When I thought of all the years, all the battles, and all the memories of my long public life, I felt confident in these closing days that while I will not be there when it happens, you will be the President who at long last signs into law the health care reform that is the great unfinished business of our society. For me, this cause stretched across decades; it has been disappointed, but never finally defeated. It was the cause of my life. And in the past year, the prospect of victory sustained me-and the work of achieving it summoned my energy and determination.
There will be struggles – there always have been – and they are already underway again. But as we moved forward in these months, I learned that you will not yield to calls to retreat – that you will stay with the cause until it is won. I saw your conviction that the time is now and witnessed your unwavering commitment and understanding that health care is a decisive issue for our future prosperity. But you have also reminded all of us that it concerns more than material things; that what we face is above all a moral issue; that at stake are not just the details of policy, but fundamental principles of social justice and the character of our country.
And so because of your vision and resolve, I came to believe that soon, very soon, affordable health coverage will be available to all, in an America where the state of a family’s health will never again depend on the amount of a family’s wealth. And while I will not see the victory, I was able to look forward and know that we will – yes, we will – fulfill the promise of health care in America as a right and not a privilege.
In closing, let me say again how proud I was to be part of your campaign- and proud as well to play a part in the early months of a new era of high purpose and achievement. I entered public life with a young President who inspired a generation and the world. It gives me great hope that as I leave, another young President inspires another generation and once more on America’s behalf inspires the entire world.
So, I wrote this to thank you one last time as a friend- and to stand with you one last time for change and the America we can become.
At the Denver Convention where you were nominated, I said the dream lives on.
And I finished this letter with unshakable faith that the dream will be fulfilled for this generation, and preserved and enlarged for generations to come.
With deep respect and abiding affection,
"Since you ask ... - what happend was that Richard was caught lying here, on this forum. More then once . It was not a little mistake as he later claimed, it was a deliberate and totally unnecessary lie. ... I am not the only one who would wish to know what is real, and what is fantasy in Richard's world when he writes here, as this would make for much better relationships on this forum. ... He just cannot help himself still telling tales and stirring troubles like in the case of Richard's stament that he has never, ever met Seantor Kennedy then few hours later telling us that he has actually been questioned by him on Capitol, no less. Just as such events happen every day. Right? ...
This is what happend ... This is why many people find it difficult to believe what Richard is saying like giving up all medicines overnight recently and immediately feeling fine etc, etc like the story above and so many others. ... NikaB
XXX, ... You like Richard's lies and lying - fine. But many, many other people here do not.
If you only look at this particular example of his recent kind of obvious fantasy on this forum which cannot be true:
"After visiting my 3 docs, I bid a fond farewell to:
I feel 500% better already!! My friends and neighbors and grocery clerks have all noticed the difference. It is truly amazing what a few less drugs can do to a person!"
Well if you know anything or read about giving up any of the above medication and still believe that it is possible from one day to next not only you have no withdrawals of any kind, but instantly feel better by 500% (yes, yes!!! we are in total fantasy land) and also have everybody noticing the difference, you are obviosuly not prepared to look at any facts connected with that perosn more closely, XXX. YOU might like to read such lies, but they can be very harmful if people actually believe him, or follow such stories. This is a serious issue, you must see that.
What is interesting about this person from the UK (an immigrant from Poland) is how she believes her disbelief, her jealously, MUST mean I am lying. She cannot get it through her head that, yes indeed, I have spoken with, partied with, and strategized with many national and state politicians in my working life. My testifying before Congress was a significant deal to me - but it was one among many, many significant deals in my career. If I were to write to her about my work with killers and rapists, she would not believe that either. Or if I were to write to her or on the forum about my many protests and confrontations with authority - as part of my work and after, she would not believe it either. I worked with a group of people who went downtown during a coffee break at a staff meeting to get arrested at Wells Fargo bank for trespassing. But such a concept is beyond Nika's imagination.
Nika, real sorry your life has been boring and uneventful. But your boring life is no reason I have to live a boring life also.
If you wish to discuss the withdrawal symptoms and effects of stopping medication, Nika, please take it up with my Board Certified Internist, Neurologist, Cardiologist, and Pain Manager. Maybe you are right and all my highly educated and experienced MD's are wrong. I would not bet on it, but it might be true (LOL). So have at it, take on the USA medical establishment and explain to them why you are correct and they are wrong.
While you are at it, I will ask my neighbors and friends and store clerks who read this to contact you - so you can explain to them that they were lying when they noticed a night-and-day difference in me after I stopped the medications. Of course they all must be lying, Nika ... you do not believe them so they must ALL be liars ... right? (ROTFLMAO)
But you correct in one thing, Nika. This is a serious matter. Your constant accusations and disbelief speaks volumes about yourself - it truly appears that you may benefit from serious counseling. Your inability to recognize the fact that people have lives different from yours is fairly delusional. Seriously, Nika, counseling may do you a world of good. AND get you off my back.
Of course my friends in Northern California have made many other recommendations that may help you ... especially help you "get a life of your own." They have recommended certain adult physical acts that may relieve some of the tension that screams out from your tirades. Most have simply recommend that you try and try hard to develop a life of your own so that my life experiences do not threaten you so.
But Nika, know this. I am rigorously honest is all I write. Your maniacal disbelief does not change reality at all. Your accusations are comical at this point. I hate to say it, but the laughter is AT you, not with you. For your own good, leave me alone with your false and malicious accusations. Believe the truth or not - it is immaterial to me. But do recognize that your disbelief will not change reality. And I am rigorously honest in all my affairs whether you say so or not.
In other words, get off my back!
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Sunday, September 6, 2009
Many (most) of the Religious Reich in the USA have lambasted this act ... as evidenced by comments made on Free Republic and AFTAH. Horrible things have been said about this Christian Community - calling them non-Christians is the kindest blow. Regarding this specific Pastoral Letter, our conservative citizens write on Free Republic:
“It’s hard now to remember, but ordination of women was just as controversial 40 years ago” No, that is exactly why the GLTB (did I miss anyone?) issue will not go away. The “church” bent the rules to allow ordination of women, then why can’t the church bend the rules for everyone else? “He accepted women as worthy of respect in a time when they were considered chattels. Indeed, in John’s gospel a woman, Mary Magdalene, was the first person to see the risen Lord on Easter Sunday.” BUT, he selected 12 MALE disciples."
"It’s a woman. That tell you anything?"
" ... This letter is an infuriating twisted blasbemy of the word of God. ...
Pastor Pat is justifying by twisting the meaning of what Christ is saying here to suit his means!"
Here is the pastoral letter from one Lutheran minister who was NOT at the conference that made this historic vote.
FROM PASTOR PAT’S DESK
You have read two eloquent pastoral letters in this issue, one from Mark Hanson, the Presiding Bishop of the ELCA, and one from B. Penrose Hoover, our own bishop of the Lower Susquehanna Synod. As your pastor, I feel that I also ought to share my thoughts with you about what was decided at the churchwide assembly regarding ordination of gay and lesbian persons in long-term committed same sex relationships.
In his “Prefaces to the Old Testament, “ Martin Luther said, “Here [in the Scriptures] you will find the swaddling cloths and manger in which Christ lies.” In “Preface to the Epistles of St. James and St. Jude, he said, “Whatever does not teach Christ is not yet apostolic, even though St. Peter or St. Paul does the teaching.”
No matter which side of the debate one might take, As Lutherans we see the Bible first and foremost for what it teaches us about Jesus. And I believe that what Jesus taught, preached and lived is very instructive to us in this situation.
First, Jesus never said one word about homosexuality. He did, however say a great deal about self-righteousness. In Matthew 7 we read, “Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye?” .
Second, Jesus could, and did challenge long accepted and deeply held religious beliefs and practices. He healed on the Sabbath; in the gospel lesson for August 30 he challenges the practices of ritual washing and declared that there were no forbidden foods. In the next few verses he healed the daughter of a gentile, a foreigner.
Third, Jesus chose as his followers, tax collectors and other sinners. He accepted women as worthy of respect in a time when they were considered chattels. Indeed, in John’s gospel a woman, Mary Magdalene, was the first person to see the risen Lord on Easter Sunday.
From this we learn that Jesus was not afraid to challenge accepted practices. He was not afraid to make waves. He was not afraid to befriend those who were considered to be outcasts by the religious people of the day.
Yet, Jesus preached a high, even impossible standard of morality. He taught that all of us are liars, adulterers, and murderers, if we’ve every even thought about those things. He spoke very plainly against divorce and remarriage. He taught that we must love our enemies and forgive endlessly.
For me, what we learn first from Jesus in regard to the decisions of the churchwide assembly, is that we are all sinners, and that we are all desperately in need of God’s grace. No matter where we stand on these issues, none of us is good enough to judge those who are on the other side. Second, we are already doing things that are contrary to the literal interpretation of Scripture. It’s hard now to remember, but ordination of women was just as controversial 40 years ago as are the issues we are facing today. We also accept divorced and remarried people as members of the clergy because we believe in God’s forgiveness and grace. We can do these things because we believe that as times change, the Holy Spirit can and does speak to us in new ways.
Third, as a very practical matter, these new rulings do not change the process by which a congregation calls a pastor. Authority to call a pastor rests with the congregation. No congregation will be forced to call a pastor that they do not feel is right for them, for any reason.
You will hear many things said about these issues in the coming weeks and months. However each of us may feel about these issues, let us remember the life and teachings of or Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and struggle to act in love to God through love to neighbor, as he would have us do.
Yours in Christ,
Pastor Pat rally makes sense to me. I hope you enjoyed reading her letter also.
Friday, September 4, 2009
He does a GREAT job of explaining why these guys are so dangerous these days. His short pieceis definitely worth a read. HERE
This is an exerpt - read his entire short article!
"Over the course of the summer, a string of murders - from NeoNazi Richard Poplowski's murder of three Pittsburgh cops to a murderous rampage at the National Holocaust Museum and the murder of abortion doctor George Tiller, New World Order conspiracy beliefs appear to have had played significant role in the world views of the men who have committed or been charged with these crimes.
In early August, a New Jersey woman was arrested while scoping out an Air National Guard base. Authorities found an XM-15 assault rifle, a shotgun and 500 rounds of ammunition in her cart. Nancy Genovese claimed, as part of her inspiration, Glenn Beck's Fox show - especially his discussion of FEMA camps.
While much of the rising tide of right wing violence driven in part by New World Order conspiracy theory is associated with the racist right, militant right wing anti-government populism is far from a wholly racist phenomenon. Consider the parishioner of pastor Steven Anderson's church, Chris Broughton, who recently helped put Anderson in the national media spotlght:
He could have stepped right out of the pages of history, from one of Martin Luther King’s civil rights marches: a handsome young African American man, perhaps a march organizer, carrying a bullhorn. Articulate, impeccably attired in spotless white shirt and black formal slacks, hair close cut, clean shaven."
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Homosexuals and homosexuality are natural and created by God, thus permissible within Islam, a discussion concluded here Thursday.
Moderate Muslim scholars said there were no reasons to reject homosexuals under Islam, and that the condemnation of homosexuals and homosexuality by mainstream ulema and many other Muslims was based on narrow-minded interpretations of Islamic teachings.
Siti Musdah Mulia of the Indonesia Conference of Religions and Peace cited the Koran's al-Hujurat (49:3) that one of the blessings for human beings was that all men and women are equal, regardless of ethnicity, wealth, social positions or even sexual orientation.
"There is no difference between lesbians and nonlesbians. In the eyes of God, people are valued based on their piety," she told the discussion organized by nongovernmental organization Arus Pelangi.
"And talking about piety is God's prerogative to judge," she added.
"The essence of the religion (Islam) is to humanize humans, respect and dignify them."
Musdah said homosexuality was from God and should be considered natural, adding it was not pushed only by passion.
WOW! This is really good news to me after all I have reading about Sharia Law and the Muslim treatment of gay men and lesbians in the Middle East. RGS
Steven L. Anderson is one of two evangelical Christian pastors who have received a lot of attention lately for their vocal calls -- prayers and hopes -- for President Obama to die. Anderson also believes that "homosexuals," among others, should be executed.
I had Anderson on the show (below is a video of selected parts of the interview, ...) because I believe we can't afford to ignore these violence-inciting individuals, not in this time in which Republicans are whipping them into a frenzy.
One of the men who brought an assault weapon to President Obama's speech in Phoenix a couple of weeks ago attends Anderson's church. Better to expose them and let the world hear them.
Anderson actually told me that, though he wouldn't encourage it, he would not condemn any person who killed President Obama or call that person a murderer. He does not believe that the man who allegedly killed Dr. George Tiller, the Kansas doctor who performed late-term abortions, a murderer. And he said he would not call someone who shot a group of gays and lesbians with a machine gun a murderer:
MS: You want all gay people to be executed, correct?
SA: That is correct. It is what the Bible teaches.
MS: If somebody were to go out with a machine gun and spray down a crowd of gay and lesbian people, would you think that was okay?
SA: , I would not think it's okay because I believe in due process.
MS: Would that person be a murderer?
SA: No, I would not judge them as a murderer, no.
Toward the end of the interview, as he went on a rant calling all gays child molesters, I let him know I was gay, something I can't believe he didn't already know:
MS: You know, I'm gay..I'm gay, and I don't molest any children. What do you think of that?
SA: Well, I'd say you're lying.
MS: You think I must be molesting children, right?
SA: Exactly, right.
MS: Do you pray that I'll die tonight?
SA: If you're a homosexual, I hope you get brain cancer like Ted Kennedy.
Click. He hung up (though I didn't realize it until a minute later, and offered my final thoughts.)
Steven Anderson is what I call a christianist. He is no more Christian than the Dalai Lama. Anderson uses the Gospel as a shield to legally protect him while he incites himself and others to bigotry, hatred, and violence. He calls for the assasination of President Obama and the extinction of all gays and lesbians. He has every right to do so.
And I likewise have every right to call him what he is. No better than a KKK Grand Dragon talking in front of a burning cross before the lynching. He is a hate filled bigot and a very dangerous man. I pray he sees the error of his ways and learns to live and let live in love and kindness. RGS
Monday, August 31, 2009
I do have a real problem with christianists. These are the folks - usually men - who use their "faith" as a cover for their own bigotry and prejudice. These are the folks who use their "faith" to hurt others and to cause others to hurt others - physical hurt, emotional hurt, spiritual hurt, political hurt. Christianists using the loving message of the Christ to justify their own hatred and bigotry and acts of causing pain really get my goat.
Christianists are the people who regularly take a singular example of a criminal who happens to be gay to justify their hatred of all gay people. Well Joe at Joe.My.God decided to even the scales a bit. Weekly he runs this post of crimes perpetrated by christianists - people of "faith" who act to hurt others.
I am copying it here because today I am angry with christianists. Not Christians, only christianists.
This Week In Holy Crimes .... Over the last seven days...
New York: Pastor Victor Figueroa sued for $30M for sexually assaulting congregant.
Alabama: Pastor John Picard convicted of 42 counts of sexual battery of six women.
Ontario: Father Bernard Prince defrocked by the Vatican for his conviction for molesting 13 boys.
Virginia: Pastor Gregory Biehl pleads guilty to possession of kiddie porn. Biehl was formerly convicted of climbing a tree to videotape a woman undressing.
North Carolina: Pastor Keith Devon Pettis charged with molesting 12 year-old girl.
Alabama: Pastor David Webb sued by underage victim he transported across state lines for the purposes of sex. Webb was sentenced to five years in prison in May.
Louisiana: Pastor Martin Denesse accused of defrauding 175 people out of the money they paid him to secure a FEMA trailer home after Hurricane Katrina.
Oklahoma: Pastor Joshua Spires charged with ten counts of child molestation.
Virginia: Pastor Steven Bruce Joplin charged with five counts of felony child molestation of pre-teen girls.
Peru: Father Antonio Jose Calle arrested for molesting 9 year-old girl with Down's Syndrome.
New York: Rabbi Yaskov Weiss charged with molesting two 13 year-old boys.
This Week's Winner-Florida: Pastor Wiklan Moran-Mora didn't want his wife to catch him cheating, so he concocted his own kidnapping, sending his wife multiple text messages saying he was negotiating his release from his captors, all so he could spend more time with his mistress. Moran-Mora's wife called the police and more than a dozen Hillsborough County deputies closed in on his cell phone signal, finding him with his paramour.
(GUANGZHOU, china - Population 13.5 Million) More than 100 gay men in this southern city protested this week against recent actions by the police to push them out of a park frequented by homosexuals. The protest was held Tuesday night in People's Park, not far from the Guangzhou municipal government building, said Ah Qiang, a volunteer of a Guangzhou-based gay organization. "The park is open for everyone," Ah said. "Why are we not allowed to stay here?" Sometime during the night, the protesters verbally clashed with police officers after park guards asked the large group to leave the premises. ... "But, we eventually got the police to leave the park," Ah said.
The park, according to both the police and the organization, is a popular gathering spot for male homosexuals. About 100 gay people meet there each day, Ah said. A police officer with the Guangwei subdistrict public security station, who declined to be identified, said the move to ask homosexuals to leave the park was a preventive measure because gay people are allegedly committing crime in the park. "An increasing number of local citizens have told us they have been harassed by gay people in the park," the unnamed officer said. The officer also said homosexuals are committing minor crimes such as robbery and stealing. "We can hardly distinguish those who have harassed local citizens. That is why we have to push all of them out," he said.
Ah Qiang refuted the police officer's claim and said that male homosexuals are the victims of crimes, not the perpetrators. Many gay people are robbed in the park, he said. "Police should protect us from being victims of such crimes, instead of pushing us away," said Ah, who added that fewer gay people dare to enter the park after the police's recent action. Ah said his group has about 30 volunteers in Guangzhou and they go to the park to educate others about safe sex.
"We also have discussions with gay people to behave decently in the park. Otherwise, they will be pushed away by police given the city's strengthened efforts to prepare for next year's Asian Games," he said.
Some gay people and volunteers were questioned in the park's public security house for several hours before the protest, he said. "As far as I know, all people who were questioned in the public security house have been set free," Ah said. (ChinaDaily.com.cn)
Lesbians in England and Wales Get Equal Birth Rights
Women in same-sex relationships can now register both their names on the birth certificate of a child conceived as a result of fertility treatment. Female couples not in a civil partnership but receiving fertility treatment may also both be registered. The law change applies to female couples in England and Wales who were having fertility treatment on or after 6 April 2009. (BBC.co.uk)
National Organization For Marriage Under Multi State Investigation
On the heels of news that officials in Maine were investigating the campaign practices of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), we just learned that authorities in Iowa are questioning the group over potential violations of campaign finance laws. Turns out NOM has failed to register as a PAC and disclose contributors. NOM even boasts in their fundraising letters that they offer donors anonymity. Said the Iowa board letter: “The independent expenditure process in Iowa is not a vehicle to shield political contributions.” Read the entire Iowa letter here [pdf] as well as the Maine letter [pdf]. (HRC Backstory)
RGS NOTE: Fred Karger of California brought the allegations to the attention of the Maine authorities after his work in California following Proposition 8's Campaign. Mr. Karger found that the "National Organization for Marriage" is actually a front group - formed and funded by the Church of Jesus Christ and the Latter Day Saints - The Mormon church.
This week, the National Organization for Marriage finally released its 2007 tax report - as required by law. They have withheld this information for months - with good reason. It seems they paid $166,000 for "consulting" to Aaaaand. BUT this consulting "firm" is run by the HEAD OF THE NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR MARRIAGE! So Brian Brown as the head of NOM is paying himself $166,000 to consult for NOM.
Nice work if you can find it and have no conscience.
The real problem with the Catholic Church, the4 Knights of Columbus,, the National Organization for Marriage, and Focus on the Family funding the bigotry in the Maine election is that there is NO ACCOUNTABILITY. The campaign finance laws were made so that voters knew WHO was funding the various sides. Through the use of organizations - the individual's identity is hidden.
In the real world, we call this MONEY LAUNDERING! The officials of California, Iowa, and Maine are no dummies. They will figure this out and bring these shenanigans to a halt. RGS
Sunday, August 30, 2009
A Dallas man has been sentenced to 75 years in prison for a vicious attack on a gay man in July 2008. Bobby Singleton, 30, was convicted of aggravated robbery earlier this week, according to The Dallas Morning News. He was found guilty of assaulting and robbing Jimmy Dean (pictured) at gunpoint in the Oak Lawn section of Dallas. Singleton said he and his friend Jonathan Gunter did not attack Dean because he was gay, but in his police confession, he said they went to the area to specifically target gays. (Advocate.com)
The Head of the Republican Pary, Michael Steele, says Republicans are against a
government run healthcare program but strongly support Medicare. Rachel Maddow points out that Medicare is indeed a "government run healthcare program." Is Mr. Steele for real? (YouTube - MSNBC)
Concert promoter Live Nation canceled a series of upcoming shows by Jamaican dancehall star Buju Banton (pictured) on Thursday after gay rights activists pressured the company to drop the antigay performer through an e-mail campaign, reports Change.org. Banton was scheduled to perform in October at House of Blues venues in Chicago, Las Vegas, Dallas, and Houston, among other dates and locations. However, last week, activists began contacting the Beverly Hills–based Live Nation to express their objections to the promotion of his violent antigay lyrics. (Advocate.com)
The Congress in Uruguay has passed a bill allowing adoption by gay and lesbian couples to adopt children. ... In December 2007, Uruguay's parliament passed legislation to recognise same-sex civil unions. The country of 3.6m people was the first nation in South America to grant such protections, although some cities and regions throughout the continent have made similar legal provisions. (Pink News.co.uk)
Teen murder defendant Brandon McInerney pleaded not guilty Thursday to first-degree murder and other charges in connection with the fatal shooting of classmate Larry King, 15, at an Oxnard school. McInerney, 15, who is being prosecuted as an adult, was accompanied by his attorneys in Ventura County Superior Court as he formally received the criminal charges against him. His arraignment had been postponed repeatedly since the February 2008 shooting. ... McInerney is accused of murder and a hate crime in the killing of King, who wore female clothing to school and told classmates he was gay. Prosecutors allege McInerney waited 15 to 20 minutes in a classroom before shooting King, ... (Ventura County Star )
The bad guys in Maine are getting ready for the political TV season. Casting Director James Stiles is putting out the word that he’s looking for two “real Maine” women to appear in a television ad produced by supporters of traditional marriage. Stiles is looking for a “teacher type” and a “working waitress type,” both in the 35-45 age range. If you want to try out, he’s holding auditions from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday (Sept. 2) at the Howard Johnson in South Portland. If you’re hired, it’s a three day gig that pays $500 a day. (Kennebec Journal) $1,500. Is that the going price of a bigot?
On June 28, 2009, Texas law enforcement officers reviewed two straight bars and then raided the Rainbow Lounge, a gar bar, in Ft. Worth Texas. One gay man was seriously injured and hospitalized. Many others were injured. The raid itself, occurring on the anniversary of the Stonewall Raid in NYC, was like something of yesteryear. Police swarming in, swinging batons, attacking patrons for no reason other than they are gay - a nightmare. The lgbt AND the straight community rose in indignation. At first the law enforcement agencies were defensive. Then as the facts came forward, the Chiefs had to take action. Here are the results as reported this weekend.
On August 28, 2009, Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) Chief of Field Operations Joel Moreno terminated the employment of three Fort Worth employees for their involvement in the Rainbow Lounge incident occurring June 28, 2009.On June 28, 2009, TABC agents and officers from the Fort Worth Police Department arrested several individuals at three TABC-licensed locations in Fort Worth: The Rosedale Saloon located at 150 W. Rosedale, Cowboy Palace located at 160 W. Rosedale, and the Rainbow Lounge located at 651 S. Jennings. A patron at the Rainbow Lounge was seriously injured while in the custody of TABC.Administrator Alan Steen immediately initiated an internal affairs investigation into the actions of the agents involved.
Agent Christopher Aller and Agent Trainee Jason Chapman were placed on desk duty pending the outcome of an internal investigation. Shortly after the start of the investigation, Sergeant Terry Parsons announced his intent to retire effective September 2, 2009. Parsons has been using his accrued leave since that time.
On July 31, TABC Captain Andy Pena submitted an investigation report finding that Aller, Chapman and Parsons violated various agency policies. (See previous press releases here: www.tabc.state.tx.us/home/press_releases.asp) The complaint investigation revealed additional management issues.
Disciplinary Actions: As a result of the policy violations found during the internal affairs investigation:* Agent Trainee Jason Chapman (hired 4/1/09) has been terminated effective August 28, 2009. In accordance with agency policy, Chapman does not have the right to file a grievance because he is still on his six-month probationary period as a new employee.*
Agent Christopher Aller (hired 4/4/04) has been terminated effective August 28, 2009. In accordance with agency policy, Agent Aller has been informed of his right to file a grievance with Administrator Alan Steen within ten working days.*
Sgt. Terry Parsons (hired 9/1/89) has been notified of his termination effective September 2, 2009. In accordance with agency policy, Sgt. Parsons has been informed of his right to file a grievance with Administrator Alan Steen within ten working days.
Additionally, Fort Worth District Lt. Gene Anderson has been notified that he will receive three days suspension without pay and six months probation for inadequate monitoring of the training of new agents and inadequate supervisory oversight of his employees and their activities. In accordance with agency policy, Lt. Anderson has been informed of his right to file a grievance with Administrator Alan Steen within ten working days.
Finally, Captain Robert “Charlie” Cloud has received a written reprimand for failure to follow the incident notification policy, inadequate monitoring of the training of new agents and inadequate supervisory oversight of the Fort Worth employees and their activities. ... (DallasVoice.com)
Budapest, Hungary Pride Celebration 2009
Romanian fans of singer Madonna showed their displeasure during a concert yesterday when she condemned discrimination against Roma people and gays. The 51-year-old American performer is currently on tour. During her concert in the Romanian capital, Bucharest, she said:
"We don't believe in discrimination against anyone. We believe in freedom and equal rights for everyone…right? Gypsies, homosexuals, people who are different — everyone is equal and should be treated with respect, OK? Let's not forget that."
There were loud boos from the crowd as well as some cheering. (Pink News)
The Budapest embassies of the UK, US, Canada, Australia, South Africa, France and Germany have expressed their support for Pride events in the city.
Budapest Pride was the target of violent fascist attacks last year. An estimated 1,500 people participated in an LGBT solidarity demonstration and Hungarian police were forced to use tear gas and a water cannon to clear the route for marchers to leave. There were also violent scenes at Pride in 2007.
Today a joint press release was issued by the Embassies of Australia, Canada, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States.
"On the occasion of the 2009 Budapest Pride Festival, we express our support for, and solidarity with, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities in Hungary," they said.
"We support the right of these communities to use this traditional occasion to march together peacefully and lawfully, in order to express their desire to end the silence surrounding the specific issues that affect them.
"Human rights — including justice, equality, humanity, respect and freedom of expression — and the rule of law are the foundations upon which democratic states are built.
"Indeed, international human rights law is grounded on the premise that all individuals are entitled to the same rights and freedoms, as set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
"It is this respect for fundamental human values that obliges governments to protect all citizens from violence and to ensure that all people enjoy equal opportunities.
"Today, many individuals face discrimination, both systemic and overt, based on their sexual orientation and gender identity.
"Our governments seek to combat such discrimination by promoting the human rights of all people, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
"We urge all governments to ensure that neither sexual orientation nor gender identity form the basis for criminal penalties."
Budapest Pride begins on Sunday (8/30/09)and includes events such as parties and a film festival alongside seminars and self-defence classes. (Pink News)
Hollywood star Whoopi Goldberg has recorded a special message of support for a Pride event marred by violent attacks in recent years. The Oscar-winning actor's message will be played publicly on Sunday, the first day of Pride in Budapest. "Whoopi has filmed and traveled in Hungary, and has spoken publicly of her love for Hungary," Pride orgainisers said. (Pink News)