Tuesday, December 30, 2008

"The Tyranny," the "Savagery," of the "American Family"

Judith Warner has a moving op-ed today in the New York Times about the 1960s family. Having grown up in the 1960s family in New York and New Jersey. It is this 1950s-'60s era that has defined my life, the way I understand family, church, education...life! Warner explains it beautifully and yet, for me, painfully:

Unlike the baby boomers before us, we “baby busters” of the ’60s never rebelled against the trappings of domesticity represented by our images of the 1950s. Many of us, deep down, yearn for it, having experienced divorce or other sorts of family dislocation in the 1970s. We keep alive a secret dream of “a model of routine and order and organization and competence,” a life “where women kept house, raised kids and kept their eyebrows looking really good,” as the writer Lonnae O’Neal Parker once described it in The Washington Post Magazine.

This was not a family where we who are LBTQG could ever feel comfortable. The gay characters in AMC's "Mad Men" are deep in the closet, covered by cigarette smoke and martinis. I saw my family in Albee's and Guare's plays of the 1960s living room dramas.

She closes with this observation:

How we seem to love and hate those men and women we never knew. What we would give to know their secrets: how Dad managed to come home at 5 p.m. to read the paper or watch TV while Mom fixed dinner and bathed the kids. How Mom turned up at school, every day, unrumpled, coiffed, unflappable. And more to the point: how they managed to afford the lives that they led, on one salary, without hocking their homes to pay for college, without worrying about being bankrupted by medical bills.

Click here for more.

Pace! B

Civil Unions: A Federal Option

There are more articles, essays, and op-eds that are suggesting that one way for President-elect Obama to redeem himself (partially) with the LGBTQ community is with a federal "civil union" bill, in which LBTQG and straight couples who choose not to marry could have a civil union, with all the same rights as those who wish to be wedded and "married" in communities of faith.

Such a push was evident this morning in the News and Observer op-ed by Chuck Small. In a possible address that Obama could give at his inaugural, Chuck Small puts in Obama's mouth the urge that all people have equal rights, including a contractual relationship, a.k.a., civil union or marriage. He ends with this refrain:

Is it too politically risky for the new president to take an immediate stand on such a controversial topic? Perhaps. But the political risk makes it no less a moral imperative for a man who truly believes in the ideal of a more perfect union.

Indeed, such a stance would tell us far more about what the nation can expect in an Obama presidency than any reading between the lines we attempt when we look at Rick Warren's selection to deliver the inaugural invocation.

Click here for more.



Monday, December 29, 2008

New York Times: Rich Vs. Kristol

Interesting tug of war in the New York Times editorial/op-ed section, as there has been in the Washington Post: Frank Rich scorned Obama for his decision to invite Rick Warren to do the invocation, and Bill Kristol scorned liberals for scorning Obama for the Rick Warren invitation.

In Rich's piece, "You're Likable Enough, Gay People," Obama tends to overestimate his ability to bring different people with different points of view together:

"As we saw during primary season, our president-elect is not free of his own brand of hubris and arrogance, and sometimes it comes before a fall: “You’re likable enough, Hillary” was the prelude to his defeat in New Hampshire. He has hit this same note again by assigning the invocation at his inauguration to the Rev. Rick Warren, the Orange County, Calif., megachurch preacher who has likened committed gay relationships to incest, polygamy and “an older guy marrying a child.” Bestowing this honor on Warren was a conscious — and glib — decision by Obama to spend political capital. It was made with the certitude that a leader with a mandate can do no wrong."

My colleagues believe that Obama and his team are tone-deaf to the situation faced by people who are LBTGQ in this society...as are so many others. As I've written recently, there are many people who keep on being amazed at how growingly intolerant people in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro area are of LGBTQ people. We are no longer the liberal bastion of the South: we are becoming more homogenized and less diverse.

Click here for more.

Meanwhile, Billy Kristol scorns those of us who are liberal-progressives, basically telling us to grow up:

For one thing, there will be the invocation, delivered by Rick Warren. I suspect he’ll be careful to say nothing pro-life or pro-traditional-marriage — but we conservatives have already gotten more than enough pleasure from the hysterical reaction to his selection by the tribunes of the intolerant left. And having Warren there will, in fact, be a welcome reminder of the strides the evangelical movement and religious conservatives (broadly speaking) have made in recent decades.

Click here for more.

So what should Obama do next?

I like Frank Rich's idea myself: move quickly on issues pertaining to LBGTQ people:

McCarthy added that it’s also time “for President-elect Obama to start acting on the promises he made to the LGBT community during his campaign so that he doesn’t go down in history as another Bill Clinton, a sweet-talking swindler who would throw us under the bus for the sake of political expediency.” And “for LGBT folks to choose their battles wisely, to judge Obama on the content of his policy-making, not on the character of his ministers.”

It is time to change!



Saturday, December 27, 2008

Running for School Board Seat in Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools

What a surprise this morning to find my blog read and linked by Mark Schultz of the Chapel Hill News about my interest in running for a place on the school board of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools (CHCCS). Yes, the movie and story of "Milk" is an inspiration. However "Milk" was but one more inspiring message to run for public office, or this public office, which I have thought of for quite some time.

My interest in this position comes from many reasons:
* My bachelor degree (B. Music Ed./Therapy from the Univ. of Kansas, 1978), also brought me into special education contexts in working with young children with severe or profound disabling conditions. I worked for over two years in special education contexts;
* My M.Div. (Princeton Seminary, 1983) focused on human development and religious education;
* My Th.M. (Harvard University, 1985), focused on more courses on human development, education, and religious education, with most of my courses from Harvard Graduate School of Education;
* I have a Ph.D. in Special Education, with a focus in religious education, from UNC-CH, 1988. In other words, educationally I have experience in public schools, especially special education, and knowledge about educational systems and theories that I would like to see experimented with in the CHCCS;
* I have two children who went through the CHCCS schools, along with a former spouse who works in one of the elementary schools. I have seen the good, the bad, and the quite repugnant of CHCCS for almost 15 years. I am very interested (to paraphrase Clint Eastwood) bolstering the "good" of the system, addressing the "bad" of the system, and recognizing and addressing the areas of "in need of improvment" of this system, so that it is a better system for all children and their educational team;
* I taught Christian religious education at Duke Divinity School for over a decade until I was denied tenure because I am an out gay man;
* One of the groups of children, and faculty, staff, and administrators who have had a rocky time in the CHCCS are those who self-identify as LGBTQ. Now, two of the comments on the link made it sound like being an out-gay person running for the CHCCS would be easy:

Why not ....

Like a black man running for office in Harlem .... It's Chapel Hill - Carrboro ..... seriously, why not?

Good one, Turd-bo!

Hey, it's also kind of like if you ran for Grand Wizard of the Klan!

Nyuk-nyuk-nyuk-nyuk ,,,

But here is where reality breaks through: students, staff, administrators, and teachers who are openly LGBTQ do not have it all that easy in the CHCCS. They face subtle discrimination, are bullied, and treated as outsiders, as do the the children of those of us who are out and gay. What is mis-leading about the RDU area, especially Chapel Hill-Carrboro, is that the area is all "O.K." with out LGBTQ people...and that is not the truth. Out LGBTQ parents with children in the CHCCS have a hard time because our children are bullied by other children, staff, teachers, and administrators.

I would run for a seat on the School Board with interest in bettering the educational opportunities for all students in the CHCCS, including those students in special education contexts and those who are LGBTQ.

Click here for more!

O.K.: I'm very interested in running and close to announcing my nomination for a seat in the next election cycle.

Is there support for my nomination? Let me know!

And thanks, Mark, for reading the blog!



Thursday, December 25, 2008

Rick Warren: A Flip Flop Saddleback Church

On queerty.com, I noticed this fabulous flip flop: while reporting that they had taken off the notice that gays weren't welcome unless they repented, there is this word from queerty.com that the notice is back on: LGBTQ aren't welcome to Saddleback Church, according to Ms. Cole, a representative of Saddleback:

"I wanted to make sure you were aware that the Q & A addressing homosexuality on the Saddleback Church Web site has not been permanently removed, but rather repurposed for clarity. I know your readers have noticed the change.

Attached is the audio response from Saddleback Associate Pastor Tom Holladay regarding the question, “What Does the Bible Say About homosexuality – is it a sin?” that will be posted later this morning on the site.

Wanted to make sure you were aware of this. Thanks!"

Here's a link to the blog site.

Merry Christmas!

And Mr. Obama: please simply have an LGBTQ person in your inaugural festivities and swearing in, perhaps make a new cabinet position with an out LGBTQ person (so far not represented among the Cabinet), overturn DADT and DOMA...soon! Then everything should be O.K.! O.K.?



Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Washington Post Morning: Jonathan Capehart, E. J. Dionne, and Richard Cohen on Obama and Warren

This morning I had to get up early (darn it) because the Spirit was saying "arise!" On "Morning Joe! on msnbc, there was Jonathan Capehart, an out-gay journalist defending gay marriage against Joe Scarborough and Pat Buchanan. He let them speak a little bit too much for my taste, and he could've pulled in the comparison with the civil rights movement and gay movement better, e.g., both are minorities seeking equal rights.

Read Capehart's article today here.

Jonathan works for Washington Post. And there was a reference to two editorials in the Washington Post, one by E.J. Dionne, and the other by Richard Cohen re: Rick Warren's role in the inauguration! What a day for the Washington Post!

Cohen's sister is gay, and she is not throwing a pro-Obama party on his inauguration day because of Rick Warren. Click here for more.

Dionne thought that this was potentially politically savvy of Obama inviting Warren. Click here for more.

I couldn't get enough!

We are talking about all things gay! Would this be happening had Prop. 8 lost, or Rick Warren not be invited?

Who knows!



Monday, December 22, 2008

What do Pope Benedict and Rick Warren Have in Common? Homophobia!

This is classic: we are despised by both Rick Warren AND Pope Benedict!

Rick Warren's church, Saddle Back Church, in its small group ministries (How Methodist can you get?!) website explicitly says that homosexuals are not allowed:

We get lectures about civility and the need to welcome everyone, even those we disagree with, and Rick Warren won't even welcome us in his church. This is from the Saddleback Church's own Web site. You know things are bad when the church goes out of its way to explicitly say that you're not welcome as a member in their Web site FAQ. But we're supposed to welcome him to our inauguration. (Hat tip to reader Ken.)

Click here for more.

And then the Pope equated saving straight families from LGBTQ people as all of us saving the rain forest!

Click here for more.

Here's the good news: Obama hasn't invited the Pope--another homophobe--to be in his inaugural festivities.



Saturday, December 20, 2008

Saddle Back Church: No Gays (LGBTQ) Allowed As Members

All right: this crosses the line for everyone concerned, including Mr. Obama: Saddle Back Church does not allow openly LGBTQ people to be members of the Church.

This was all over the news last night.

So not only does Rev. Warren not support gay marriages, but no gay members for his church--this is not Jesus' church, is it?


So would Mr. Obama let someone read anything from the inaugural platform who was the head of a racist segregationist state, company, club, or organization in the name of diversity and unity, someone who voted against him for President?



Embarrassed, Again, in the UN

There are some countries in this world where it is a criminal offense to be LGBTQ. Amazing, and true, and thus horrible. Something should be done! The UN at least could come out protecting the human rights of all people, right?

And the UN was moving that way, but there are some countries and municipalities of the UN who voted against such a move: Russia, the Vatican...and the USA!

Oh fair, wonderful, loving United States of America. While the rest of the Western world moves forward to a place where all people are created equal, you remain stuck between a Church and a hard place, refusing to accept that gay men and women are just like everybody else, and deserve the same rights as everybody else. So, while 66 countries in the United Nations General Assembly agreed to pass a resolution decriminalizing homosexuality, this great nation refused to get on board. Of course, the U.S. isn't alone here.

Russia, China, the Roman Catholic Church and members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference all refused to accept the language under the foolish excuse that it would also — stay with me here — legitimize pedophilia.

It's the first time the issue has been brought before the 191-member U.N.; a French-Netherlands effort brought it to the floor for a vote on the heels of the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Click here for more.

When I first heard of this, I shook my head in wonder and disillusionment. I sighed. Expectations from the Bush Administration were met.

Fear? Obama as President would send Rick Warren to negotiate this in the UN.



Thursday, December 18, 2008

Are We Sister Souljah for Mr. Obama?

I disagree with what I am hearing from the Obama staff about Rick Warren. He is not friendly to LGBTQ people, or any propositions in CA. Max Blumenthal of the Daily Beast wrote this about Warren:

A week before Election Day, here is what “America’s Pastor” told the 22,000 members of his Saddleback Church in Orange County: “Here’s an interesting thing: there are about 2% of Americans [who] are homosexual, gay, lesbian people. We should not let two percent of the population determine—to change a definition of marriage that has been supported by every single culture and every single religion for 5,000 years. This is not even just a Christian issue, it is a humanitarian and human issue, that God created marriage for the purpose of family, love and procreation. I urge you to support Proposition 8 and to pass that on.”

So are we the punching bag for Axelrod and Obama and Gibbs?

Why'd we vote for this guy again? At least with McCain/Palin you knew what you were getting. That's what I like about conservatives: I know where they stand. They may not stand with us but against us, but at least I know it. Liberals like Obama stand with us some of the time. Remember: he does not support gay marriage. Nor does Biden.

Click here for more.



Rick Warren and Inauguration Invocation

The news was a bit of a shock: Rick Warren to give the invocation at the inauguration. Rick Warren, who supported Prop. 8, who sees gay marriage as a sin (of some kind, read previous blog), is giving the invocation of a Democratic president, whose one core base was the LGBTQ community. Rick Warren!?

Two sides of the debate: Politically Marc Ambinder of Atlantic Monthly writes this:

From experience, one can presume that the decision to invite Rick Warren was made because (a) Obama likes the guy, and (b) he knows it would send a message to groups like the HRC, and to conservative Christians who might be wary of the new president. Not so much pandering as it is Obama's deft manipulation of the politics of symbolism. Obviously, Obama disagrees with Rick Warren on important issues. He has said so, many times, and publicly. And he agrees with him on other important issues. And ignoring something like Warren, a mainstream figure who commands the respect of million of Americans, would be foolish. Obama's message is: Rick Warren is a part of Obama's America, too.

Joe Solomese of HRC writes this:

Let me get right to the point. Your invitation to Reverend Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at your inauguration is a genuine blow to LGBT Americans. Our loss in California over the passage of Proposition 8 which stripped loving, committed same-sex couples of their given legal right to marry is the greatest loss our community has faced in 40 years. And by inviting Rick Warren to your inauguration, you have tarnished the view that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans have a place at your table.

Rick Warren has not sat on the sidelines in the fight for basic equality and fairness. In fact, Rev. Warren spoke out vocally in support of Prop 8 in California saying, "there is no need to change the universal, historical definition of marriage to appease 2 percent of our population ... This is not a political issue -- it is a moral issue that God has spoken clearly about." Furthermore, he continues to misrepresent marriage equality as silencing his religious views. This was a lie during the battle over Proposition 8, and it's a lie today.

Click here for more.

Response from my desk? Quick! Call Gene Robinson! According to Gene, he and Obama have already been talking.



Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Newsweek's Cover Story: Gay Marriage

By my nightstand I have a copy of Newsweek magazine's story on gay marriage. I paw through it now and then, read and re-read parts of it, and am amazed at the story. The reporter of the story looked fairly carefully at the biblical readings of unions of men and women, as well as men and men, e.g., Jonathan and David, along with polygamy, e.g., Abram along with Hagar and then there is Sarai...

And what do we do with a young girl by the name of Mary, who is betrothed but not yet quite legally wedded to Joseph, who bears a son out of wedlock?

As I've written and preached, and spoken out before, the nuclear family is a 1950s "tradition" that needs to be put away with some other relics of the '50s. Marriage and family are both categories and functions of society that keep changing throughout time, in all cultures, etc. They are, to use another phrase I've used often before, context dependent terms. This is not to make them "relative," but relevant by understanding the cultural context in which marriage, family, and unions are to be understood and practiced.


Click here for more.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Homophobic Driven Life: Rick Warren is Scared of Us!

In Rick Warren's world view, and thus theology, is it possible to be gay (LGBTQ) and live a purpose driven life--and be a Christian?

In an interview with Beliefnet.com's director, Steve Waldman, Warren declares he's not a homophobe because he has gay friends, supports AIDS programs, and has even eaten in gays' homes.

I've heard this line before from other homophobes who were my boss in an institution of higher education.

Warren and his church supported Prop. 8.

Warren is a homophobe.

Here's the kicker. Ready?

Warren dodged Waldman's question about whether he supported civil unions or domestic partnerships, answering instead, "I support full equal rights for everyone in America," adding that he only opposes a "redefinition" of marriage. He went on to say he's opposed to gay marriage the same way he is opposed to a brother and sister marrying (that would be incest), a man marrying a child (that would be statutory rape), or someone having multiple spouses (that would be polygamy). Pressed by Waldman, Warren said he considered those crimes equivalent to gay marriage.

He thought that if Prop. 8 had lost, pastors would be able to be sued for "hate speech" by not marrying LGBTQ couples.


We pastors get to pick and choose who we will and will not marry.

Click here for more.

Warren is a homophobe.

The purpose driven life is a homophobic movement.



Let's Hear it For the Penguin Couple!

All the LGBTQ blog sites--towleroad.com, advocate.com, and queerty.com, to name a few--are covering the amazingly not amazing story of two male penguins taking over the duties of parenthood for their own adopted eggs. Animal behavioral scientists are pointing out what we are seeing in other zoos, along with "March of the Penguins": male penguins are nurturers of the young eggs, while it is the mother/female who goes out to get the food.

News from China of another couple of male penguins who are taking care of their own brood of eggs, doing what apparently comes, um, naturally: taking care of the young, just like many dads--gay and straight alike.

Click here for more.



Monday, December 15, 2008

MILK: The Movie

Yesterday I saw the movie "Milk." I've read the good and so-so-reviews of the movie. Nevertheless, for a bio-pic, I thought this ranked right up their with "Ghandi," "Ali," and "Ray". It was well told, with the flash-backs hung on the narrative line as "Harvey" tells his story in a cassette tape recorder (that looks like one I have upstairs).

The movie is a "must" for not only those of us who are LGBTQ, and straight allies, but for all of those who need the inspiration of moving forward in speaking truth to power, especially in the day and times that the stress is greatest.

One of the psychological games I like to play is this: which person would I a) most be like if I were in a similar situation? and b) which one would I most LIKE to be like in such a biopic? For example, when watching flicks on the Holocaust, e.g., Bent, Schindler's List, Sophie's Choice, the question is daunting: while I would like to say I would be outspoken and prophecy with my life, it comes at a steep cost. Likewise, I've met those people who seem to play well the role of "cog" in society's machine, without a question or thinking about what they are part of.

Likewise, in "Milk": are you Harvey? His partner Scott? Others in the camera shop? Dan White?

This is where a film becomes a teachable moment.

Sadly, as my friend Steve Petrow has remarked in his review in this week's Independent Weekly, many in this younger generation (40 and under) know little of Milk. This film is important.

Milk was the first out gay politician who won an elective office as an out gay man. There are now 600 in this country.

I'm thinking of running for the School Board for Chapel Hill-Carrboro Community School System. Any campaign managers out there who read this blog?



Thursday, December 11, 2008

Speaking Truth to Power, Evangelical Style

In my earthlink.net account website, a collection of interesting things happening in the world, there was this little article about "Top Evangelical Resigns After Supporting Gay Civil Unions." Apparently the Rev. Richard Cizik, the representative for the National Association of Evangelicals, came out in support of gay civil unions on NPR's "Fresh Air" on Dec. 2, 2008. This was more than the other members of the NAE could take, speaking truth to power about the love found between two people. The argument against people living in a monogamous relationship because they are of the same sex is losing because some evangelicals want it both ways: to object to us for being "promiscuous" while objecting to us "getting married." Which way do you want us to live? After all, being gay is not a choice, but who we were created to be.

Click here for more.

Pace! B

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Mike Huckabee on "The Daily Show": Religion and Being Gay: A choice?

Watch and listen to the debate last night on The Daily Show (thanks towleroad.com for the clip idea), in which the debate revolved around Mike Huckabee's defn. of being gay: a lifestyle choice is his defn. of being gay.

Jon Stewart was brilliant in his give and take with Mike Huckabee.

Here's the clip!





Sunday, December 7, 2008

Iowa: The Next Battle Ground for Gay Marriages

Tomorrow, the state supreme court of Iowa could decide in favor of letting LGBTQ couples wed. the reason? Not letting LGBTQ couples wed is an abridgement of a person's/couple's civil rights. The outlook for gay marriages in Iowa looks good:

Francois predicts that the Iowa Supreme Court, like other courts, will rule in favor of the gay couples.

"On the pure legal, constitutional issue, it's close to a no-brainer that two adults ought to have the right to marry whoever they choose — that the state ought not to be preventing that," he said.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit include Dawn and Jen BarbouRoske of Iowa City, who have two daughters and said they want their relationship and their family to be fully recognized under the law.

Jen BarbouRoske tells of searching for a preschool for their daughter and almost settling on a place before being told the girl wouldn't be allowed to talk about her family during family units. In court records, Dawn BarbouRoske expressed her worries over a medical condition her partner suffers from that could require hospitalization and once required an emergency room visit.

"I was terrified that the hospital staff would refuse to recognize our relationship, and that I would not be permitted to stay by her bedside," she said.

Dawn BarbouRoske said in an interview that they want people to understand they are "just everyday folks" who are seeking the same rights as other Iowans.

"We just happen to be in love with someone of the same sex. We are committed to our community, our neighborhood and taking care of our kids," she said. "When it comes down to it ... whether you agree or not about same-sex marriage, it really is a basic civil right."

One state at at time.

One day at a time.

Click here for more.



A Biblical Case for Marriage of LGBTQ Couples in Newsweek Magazine:

This from newsweek.com (click here) in support of gay marriage from a biblical perspective. As I've stated in this blog and in my book ON BEING A GAY MARRIAGE, the biblical norm or tradition for marriage is not friendly to the 1950s idea of what is marriage in modern American society. The nuclear family is not the biblical understanding of the family: never was, never will be, no way, no how. For example, take Abraham and Sarah's family: are they a model for modern American society? Polygamy anyone? Having sex for sex's case? How about the way that Mary was impregnated outside of marriage, and not by Joseph, her earthly husband?

Here's the last paragraph, which is quite moving:

More basic than theology, though, is human need. We want, as Abraham did, to grow old surrounded by friends and family and to be buried at last peacefully among them. We want, as Jesus taught, to love one another for our own good—and, not to be too grandiose about it, for the good of the world. We want our children to grow up in stable homes. What happens in the bedroom, really, has nothing to do with any of this. My friend the priest James Martin says his favorite Scripture relating to the question of homosexuality is Psalm 139, a song that praises the beauty and imperfection in all of us and that glorifies God's knowledge of our most secret selves: "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made." And then he adds that in his heart he believes that if Jesus were alive today, he would reach out especially to the gays and lesbians among us, for "Jesus does not want people to be lonely and sad." Let the priest's prayer be our own.



Prop 8: LIberals and Hollywood Elite vs. the African American Church

In the NYT.com this morning, there is an interesting article about the fraying or disunity of rainbow politics, the idea that opposites or those who are in paradoxical relationship with each other except for one goal in common--such as voting for Obama--work together for the common good.

But that's not what happened in CA: opposites voted for Barack, but one group--largely the African American church members who voted (7 out or 10) for Prop. 8--stood to rip a constitutional right away from a minority, largely LGBTQ people:

A coalition is composed of groups that may dislike — or even hate — one another, but who understand the shared political expediency of standing together. Rainbow party politics involve bringing together masses of people who are identified by being burdened by a particular grievance. Soon enough — in groups forged of such friable bonds, and almost always when matters of morality and lifestyle come into play — you will discover that one oppressed group does not necessarily support the goals of another oppressed group.

And this:

Furthermore — and perhaps even more painfully for those of us who support gay marriage and all that it represents — Christian teaching on marriage is not the only reason so many blacks supported Proposition 8. Although it has come as a shocking realization to many in this community, a host of sociological studies confirm that many blacks feel a significant aversion to homosexuality itself, finding it morally and sexually repugnant. And here in essence is the problem with the Democrats’ big tent, as well as the grounds for a wholly new kind of culture war that is probably going to make us long for the clear lines and simple enmities of the old one. The New Deal coalition was a mass movement based on building a more just economic and political order, embracing Protestant evangelicals and Catholic immigrants, segregationists and integrationists, radical left-wingers and unionized working men from the steel belt, all holding their noses with one hand and pulling the lever with the other. Many of us who voted for Mr. Obama want the same things that the New Dealers wanted; we aren’t trying to advance a cause as much as we want to regain so much lost ground.

Click here for more.

Now, what is interesting is that there is a group of progressive evangelicals who are worried about the protests against certain churches because they voted pro-Prop. 8.

Things are heating up!

Pace! B

Friday, December 5, 2008

Should We Get Married? It May Soon Be Possible in Carrboro, NC!

In my little hamlet of Carrboro, NC--the very same place that had one of the first out gay elected officials (Mike Nelson as Mayor), and claims to be the Paris of the Piedmont--the news around town is this: we could be a town that puts forth a resolution asking the legislature to allow same sex marriage. The resolution was passed unanimously. Click here for more.

The idea behind this resolution is to start a debate in the state of NC. What is awkward is that NC isn't ready to have such a discussion yet. We can't vote for a bill that outlaws bullying that includes LGBT youth.

But we have to start somewhere, and why not start the debate from my hometown!



Thursday, December 4, 2008


A group of 700 clergy of the Episcopal Church voted to create the Anglican Church of the U.S. It is a break, a schism, within the Episcopal Church in the U.S., and thus the world-wide Anglican communion:

From the Washington Post:

Conservatives from the Episcopal Church voted yesterday to form their own branch of Anglicanism in the United States and said they would seek new recognition in the worldwide church because of their growing disenchantment over the ordination of an openly gay bishop and other liberal developments.

In the past five years, a small but growing number of Episcopal parishes and dioceses have voted to leave the church, but yesterday's vote, at a meeting in Wheaton, Ill., represents the biggest split for Anglicans and presents a new challenge to U.S. church leaders and the denomination's world spiritual leader, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams.

The conservatives remain upset about the 2003 ordination of Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, the role of female clergy, the church's definition of salvation and changes to the main book of prayer.

Click here for more.

The ripple effects will be felt by all Christians in all our denominations and gatherings, including those of us in the PCUSA, as well as UCC, UMC, ELCA, to name but a few. All of our churches are going to probably go through such a split, if it hasn't already.

History lesson: there was a similar split of people when it came to slavery in the US in the 19th century. Some churches, like the UMC and Southern Baptists, only made peace within its respective bodies in the latter part of the 20th century.

This is not a way of peace.

But this is what is true: God is moving in the church. And God moves in ways of love. That two people can find each other, and love each other, must drive some people absolutely crazy.



Gays...the Next Civil Rights Movement?

This has been bouncing around the blogs: are we who are LGBTQ the new civil rights movement?

This issue was in today's News and Observer, where there are parallels being drawn between LGBTQ people and the African American community, both outsiders to the majority: straight and white.

Click here for more.


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

They Like Us! They Really Like Us!

To paraphrase Sally Field's winning an Oscar Award years ago, "They like us, they really like us!" According to GLAAD, there is wider/broader/deeper acceptance of LGBT people in society, whether we are marrying or serving in the military services:
  • Three-quarters of U.S. adults (75%) favor either marriage or domestic partnerships/civil unions for gay and lesbian couples. Only about two in 10 (22%) say gay and lesbian couples should have no legal recognition. (Gay and lesbian couples are able to marry in two states, and comprehensive civil union or domestic partnership laws exist in only five others and the District of Columbia.)
  • U.S. adults are now about evenly divided on whether they support allowing gay and lesbian couples to legally marry (47% favor to 49% oppose).
  • Almost two-thirds (64%) of U.S. adults favor allowing openly gay military personnel to serve in the armed forces. (The current “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law bans military service by openly gay personnel.)
  • About six in 10 (63%) U.S. adults favor expanding hate crime laws to cover gay and transgender people. (Hate crimes laws cover gay and transgender people in 11 states and the District of Columbia, and an additional - 20 states’ laws cover sexual orientation but not gender identity.)
  • A slight majority of U.S. adults (51%) favor protecting gay and transgender people under existing laws that prohibit discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations. (Existing non-discrimination laws cover gay and transgender people in only 12 states and the District of Columbia, and eight other states’ laws cover sexual orientation but not gender identity.)
  • Nearly seven out of 10 U.S. adults (69%) oppose laws that would ban qualified gay and lesbian couples from adopting children. (In several states, gay and lesbian couples are banned from adopting.)
Click here for more.

The reality is this: the more those of us who are LGBTQ are open and honest in our lives with others around us, the more we will be accepted for who we are: human beings created in the image of an incredible God!



Monday, December 1, 2008

World's AIDS Day

This is not an auspicious day in the life of the world: World AIDS Day, Dec. 1, is a day I would rather not have to live with anymore. It points to the need to continually raise consciousness about those who are living with or have died from HIV-AIDS, as well as those countries and programs that are making progress toward teaching people throughout the world about safe sex, getting tested, and making treatment for this chronic disease available to all.

Salon.com, nyt.com, towleroad.com...all of these websites have essays, articles, and news reports, telling people about what is happening in our world today in re: to HIV-AIDS.



Sunday, November 30, 2008

Being Gay, Living with AIDS, and Living in Haiti

There was this interesting report on salon.com: openly gay men, many with AIDS, in Haiti. There all kinds of discrimination against gay men, let alone those living with AIDS in Haiti, as is true in the US and other countries as well. Haiti is very conservative, as are parts of the US:

Nov 30th, 2008 | ST. MARC, Haiti -- A dozen men in T-shirts declaring "I am gay" and "I am living with HIV/AIDS" marched with hundreds of other demonstrators through a Haitian city on Sunday in what organizers called the Caribbean nation's first openly gay march.

The march, held a day ahead of World AIDS Day in the western city of St. Marc, called for better prevention and treatment in a country long plagued by the virus.

Organizers said they hoped the march will break barriers to reach more HIV-positive people and gay men with programs that have helped decrease the country's infection rate by two-thirds in the last decade.

"They suffer double the stigma and double the discrimination," said Esther Boucicault Stanislas, a leading activist known as the first person in Haiti to publicly declare that she was HIV-positive after her husband died of AIDS in the early 1990s.

About 500 participants that included health ministry officials and workers with United Nations programs followed a speaker-truck through the dusty city, chanting and carrying banners en route to the mayor's office. No officials received them.

Tomorrow is Dec. 1st, World's AIDS Day, a day in which we remember those who are living with and have died of AIDS around the world. Let us celebrate life, and the memory of those who have died, especially in Haiti and other countries where people do not have the medical treatments or whose leaders have followed mythic treatments!

Click here for more.



Saturday, November 29, 2008

Focus on the Family...and Then Some

In the NYT.com, there was an interesting op-ed piece by Charles Blow focused on the breakdown of the vote for Prop. 8 in CA. While it is obvious now that not only Mormons but also African-American Churches, along with Hispanic American churches, Blow breaks down the vote of the African-American churches. For example, by and large in the American African churches it was women who voted for Prop. 8 over men. These women are equally uncomfortable with interracial marriages as well, which is why the similarity between interracial and gay marriage does no good in this community. As for religious argument? Blow said give it up.

However, when it came to what would work, Blow suggested the health issue works best. That so many African American men are on the "DL" (though so are white men), leading to risky sexual behavior:

For instance, most blacks find premarital sex unacceptable, according to the Gallup data. But, according to data from a study by the Guttmacher Institute, blacks are 26 percent more likely than any other race to have had premarital sex by age 18, and the pregnancy rate for black teens is twice that of white teens. They still have premarital sex, but they do so uninformed and unprotected.

That leads to a bigger problem. According to a 2004 report by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, black women have an abortion rate that is three times that of white women.

More specifically, blacks overwhelmingly say that homosexuality isn’t morally acceptable. So many black men hide their sexual orientations and engage in risky behavior. This has resulted in large part in black women’s becoming the fastest-growing group of people with H.I.V. In a 2003 study of H.I.V.-infected people, 34 percent of infected black men said they had sex with both men and women, while only 6 percent of infected black women thought their partners were bisexual. Tragic. (In contrast, only 13 percent of the white men in the study said they had sex with both men and women, while 14 percent of the white women said that they knew their partners were bisexual.)

So pitch it as a health issue. The more open blacks are to the idea of homosexuality, the more likely black men would be to discuss their sexual orientations and sexual histories. The more open they are, the less likely black women would be to put themselves at risk unwittingly. And, the more open blacks are to homosexuality over all, the more open they are likely to be to gay marriage. This way, everyone wins.

Click here for more.

Pace! B

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Milk: An Iconic Figure

Harvey Milk's story is getting new attention in the movie "Milk." The once-upon-a-time City Councilman, shot dead for simply being gay by (closeted) Dan White, is now in a film produced and directed by Gus Van Sant. Here's a link to some of the reviews and criticisms of the film. Click here for more.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Pace, B

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Sex From the Pulpit: A New York Time's Article with Class

One of the members of the Presbyterian Church where I am currently interim pastor sent me this article from the nyt.com: Pastor's Advice for Better Marriage: More Sex!

Pastor Young was arguing or proposing to his 20,000 member congregation that one of the ways to strengthen marriage is with more sex, challenging the congregation to have sex every day for a week, or to quote Pastor Young, it was "time to put God back into sex."

My favorite line was from the Pastor who said this upon the second or third day of the challenge of having sex every day:

"It is not always easy to devote time for your spouse, Pastor Young admitted. Just three days into the sex challenge he said he was so tired after getting up before dawn to talk about the importance of having more sex in marriage that he crashed on the bed around 8 p.m. on Tuesday night.Mrs. Young tried to shake him awake, telling her husband, “Come on, it’s the sex challenge.” But Mr. Young murmured, “Let’s just double up tomorrow,” and went back to sleep."



Tuesday, November 25, 2008

This is What Equality Looks Like and Sounds Like: LGBTQ Adoptions in FL

In FL, the ban against LGBTQ people from adopting children has been overturned in court. The court is doing what the court is supposed to do: protecting the rights of the minority. In this case, the minority were people who are LGBTQ who were told they could not adopt simply because they are LGBTQ. Period.

Click here for more.

What this attests to is this: the equal rights, and equal treatment of all people--regardless of whether or not a person is LGBTQ or straight--is coming to fruition, one state at a time.



Monday, November 24, 2008

Richard Rodriguez: Right About Gay Marriage and Prop. 8 in CA

My friend Richard Rodriguez was recently interviewed on/in salon.com re: gay marriage and the win of Prop. 8.

What he brings into the picture is the dissolution of the American family that caused such a strong reaction in CA in promoting Prop. 8. After all, having tied Prop. 8 to to "American family values," especially to children, Prop. 8 seemed like a bill to protect children...and who doesn't want to protect children?
But the real challenge to the family right now is male irresponsibility and misbehavior toward women. If the Hispanic Catholic and evangelical churches really wanted to protect the family, they should address the issue of wife beating in Hispanic families and the misbehaviors of the father against the mother. But no, they go after gay marriage. It doesn't take any brilliance to notice that this is hypocrisy of such magnitude that you blame the gay couple living next door for the fact that you've just beaten your wife.

The pro-8 campaign calls itself the Protect Family Movement, even though the issue of family was the very reason gays needed to have marriage. There are partners in gay unions now who have children, and those children need to be protected. If my partner and I had children, either through a previous marriage or because we adopted them, I would need to be able to take them to the emergency room. I would need to be able to protect them with the parental rights that marriage would give me. It was for the benefit of the family that marriage was extended to homosexuals.

But religion plays an incredibly important role in this debate:

"Religions have the capacity for being noble and ennobling but they are also the expression of some of the darkest impulses in us -- to go after the "other." For Christians, if the other isn't the Muslim, it's the homosexual. That is the most discouraging part."

Click here for more.



Separation of "Church and State" in All Marriages

It is time to be clear about who approves of weddings and marriages: it is the state, the state, the state. In the legal realm of what is a marriage, the state decides the rules by which we marry AND divorce.

This point is reiterated well in this column in the Chapel Hill News by Michael Cotter:

All consenting adults, of whatever gender, should be able to enjoy the benefits of civil laws governing financial and family relationships. All such relationships would be legalized by a justice of the peace or other secular official approved by the state and be called "civil unions." Those whose religious beliefs require that the partners be of opposite sexes would be free to sanctify such unions in a way acceptable to them, but that should not be a requirement to enjoy the benefits and obligations imposed by the secular legal system. The term "marriage" would be reserved for the optional religious ceremonies which, depending on the denomination, could be celebrated by same-sex couples as well. In that way, believers can have their union blessed according to their belief, while non-believers enjoy the legal protections that a contract between consenting adults confers.

Most European countries and many others whose legal systems are based on the Napoleonic Code or other civil law systems already require civil unions, with a religious ceremony optional. Although to date only seven countries extend the civil contract to same-sex couples, others can do so simply by amending existing legal codes.

Enough is enough. Click here for more.



Saturday, November 22, 2008

Mo Dowd On Gay Marriage

In the nyt.com, Maureen Dowd does a great job covering the embarrassment of Prop. 8 passing in CA. She begins with coverage of the real events around the killing of Harvey Milk, the first out-gay elected official. In the shadow of the film "Milk" debut, CA voted against LGBTQ marriage by passing Prop. 8.

Sen. Feinstein--who then became mayor after the death of Moscone along with Milk's death--recounts what happened at that time. While she was first opposed to gay marriage, she has recently changed her tune:

The gays were outfoxed by their opponents. In both Prop 6 in 1978 and this year’s Prop 8, the specter of children being converted to a gay orientation was raised. Feinstein said the TV ad of Prop 8 supporters insinuating that “gay marriage would be taught in school really hurt.” (“I can marry a princess,” a pigtailed girl told her mom in the ad.)

“I think people are beginning to look at it differently, I know it’s happened for me,” Feinstein said of gay marriage. “I started out not supporting it. The longer I’ve lived, the more I’ve seen the happiness of people, the stability that these commitments bring to a life. Many adopted children who would have ended up in foster care now have good solid homes and are brought up learning the difference between right and wrong. It’s a very positive thing.”

I e-mailed Larry Kramer, the leading activist for gay rights in the era that followed Milk’s, to get his read on Prop 8. (In 1983, I interviewed Kramer about the new scourge of AIDS, and he read me a list from a green notebook of 37 friends who had died. )


Click here for the editorial.



Friday, November 21, 2008

Letters to the Editor in the NYT Re: Gays and Mormons

I was struck by this quote from Rachel Kueny's Letter to the Editor in the nyt.com in regards to gay marriage and the fall out from the win of Prop. 8 in CA:

How is it that one group of people can feel comfortable stripping another group of people of their basic rights? How is it that religion so often revolves around not wanting for others what one has for oneself?

Sarah (her wife) and I are citizens who spend our lives helping people, teaching people and trying to raise our son as a loving human being. We simply ask for the respect of our fellow citizens, and equal rights under the law.

Or this comment by Lisa:

I dream of a day when churches preach love and tolerance, and then match their actions to their words.

I dream of a day when only the marriage of church and state is banned.

Lisa Malkiewicz

Click here for more.

Pace, B

Civil Union Rights for LGBTQ Couples Federally?

Following Andrew Sullivan's lead with this snippet from Michael Medved (click here), what would it be like to have a federal civil union bill for any and all couples, straight AND LGBTQ? Would the religious conservatives be O.K. with such a law? Would the LGBTQ community be O.K. with such a law?

Or do we go back to this debate: marriage is a contract between two people that is offered by and through the state currently. THAT a religious community wants to participate in officiating at such an event called "a wedding," is something totally different. There is what the state does--gives permission for two people to become a couple--and what a religious community can do--officiate at the ceremony as an agent of the state.

Which way do we go?



Thursday, November 20, 2008

Mitchell Gold: The Book is "Crisis"...and So is the Topic

Mitchell Gold is all over the "Life Section" of the News and Observer (Raleigh, NC) this morning. He pulled together a host of contributors to send in essays about growing up gay or lesbian in America and put them in his book CRISIS: 40 Stories Revealing the Personal, Social, and Religious Pain and Trauma of Growing up Gay in America. Bob understands this personally as he grew up in a Jewish family in Trenton, NJ, hiding his being gay.

In person, he is passionate about all the LBTGQ teenagers who are shut out of their families and faith communities, wandering the streets, homeless and hungry. CRISIS profits will go toward alleviating this condition in American society.

He also began Faith in America, addressing religious bigotry toward LGBTQ people in American society. Faith in America had a powerful impact upon the most recent presidential election in promoting candidates who were pro-LGBTQ.

"You go Bob!"

Click here for more.

Pace, B

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Here We Go Again! CA Supreme Court Takes Up Gay Marriage Again!

On msnbc.com, the CA Supreme Court will listen to 3 challenges against the winning Prop. 8 in CA:

SAN FRANCISCO - California's highest court agreed Wednesday to hear several legal challenges to the state's new ban on same-sex marriage but refused to allow gay couples to resume marrying before it rules.

The California Supreme Court accepted three lawsuits seeking to nullify Proposition 8, a voter-approved constitutional amendment that overruled the court's decision in May that legalized gay marriage.

All three cases claim the measure abridges the civil rights of a vulnerable minority group. They argue that voters alone did not have the authority to enact such a significant constitutional change.

Click here for more.

The ground swell protest against the winning Prop. 8 is causing a change throughout the land.

It is time to change.



eHarmony: Acting More, um, Christian!

A few years ago I heard the founder of eHarmony on "Fresh Air" with Terry Gross, and was greatly disturbed when I heard Dr. Neil Clark Warren defend having all the world religions accepted as part of a person's profile on eHarmony matching/dating service--including Wiccan--but not LGBTQ people. Dr. Warren is a graduate of Princeton Seminary--as am I--and is or was a Presbyterian clergyperson--me too--and thus, out of his theological convictions did not see it as necessary to include LGBTQ. But Wiccans...that was o.k.?!

Where is the inclusivity of the body of Christ in his witness to the Gospel?

The state of New Jersey begged to differ, and in legal wranglings, eHarmony will now accept LGBTQ in matching up people. Click here for more.



Monday, November 17, 2008

100 Generals and Admirals: Throw Out Don't Ask Don't Tell (DADT)

This from newsweek.com: 100 admirals and generals who want to throw out DADT, saying that this has policy has had its time in the sun, and it is now time to retire this policy.

Click here for more.

Now: if only the church, mosque, and synagogue would do the SAME?!



News Reports from the Prop. 8 Rally in Raleigh, Sat., Nov. 15th, 2008

Here's the news of the rally in Raleigh, NC from the News and Observer, and UNC's Daily Tar Heel.

In the News and Observer, my friend Tom Greene even got his photo in the news (click here). Tom is a "PK," a preacher's kid, and the Southern preacher that was his heritage looks like it is alive and kicking with the megaphone in his hand. From the N&O:

Tom Greene, 23, of Chapel Hill, a rally organizer who led most of the chants, said Saturday's event was only the beginning.

"This is a grass-roots movement," he said. "We are initiating the next civil rights movement. Our goal is equality in North Carolina, and we're going to achieve it. The time is now."

In the Daily Tar Heel, the possibility of LGBT marriage was raised! Imagine that! Click here fore more. From the Daily Tar Heel:
But other activists, galvanized by President-elect Barack Obama’s nationwide and N.C. victories, don’t want to wait to press state legislators on gay marriage.

They want to push for gay marriage within the next decade, “picking up” those issues on the way, said Durham resident Will Elliott, one of the organizers of the event.

“I think we’ve got to go for gay marriage. There’s no reason not to set our bar that high,” Elliott said. “If we say it’ll be 20 years out to get gay marriage, it will be 20 years out, or maybe we’ll never even get there.”

Participants on Saturday expressed a similar sentiment, saying that North Carolina turning blue indicates the state might be ready to accept same-sex marriage.

“I want us to go for the gold ,” said Rita Hernandez, a Raleigh resident who carried a sign saying, “I can’t believe we’re still protesting this …”.

“I worry that, as a movement, we don’t push for enough, quickly enough,” she said.

With constitutional bans in Florida and Arkansas passed Nov. 4, North Carolina is now the only state in the Southeast without a ban.

Palmquist attributed that to North Carolina’s unique amendment process, which requires that the legislature propose all amendments and then put them up to a vote by the people.

Elliott said the same kind of grassroots movement that helped elect Obama next needs to mobilize in support of gay rights legislation.

“This is the new face of what the gay and lesbian equal rights movement is going to be,” Elliott said. “Any group involved in legislative action is going to need to adapt and harness this new energy and power.”


Saturday, November 15, 2008


What does Pace mean in my "sign off" on my blog?

Above is the flag.

Here is the explanation. I saw it first when on pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela last year.



Italian "PACE" Flag

A Universal Symbol of Peace & Solidarity

“Pace” (pronounced PAH-chay) means peace in Italian. This universal symbol of peace, solidarity, sister & brotherhood was hung from millions of homes and workplaces all over Italy (and beyond) prior to the war against Iraq. This flag has become quite popular all over the European Union and US.

Approx. dimensions: 3ft x 4ft 2in. Printed on lightweight polyester for limited outdoor use. The flag has a full length sleeve on the 3-foot side for attaching the flag to a pole or other support. No grommets. Imported from Italy.

1400 in Raleigh, NC Protest Passage of Prop. 8 in CA

In NC, 1400 people protested the passage of Prop. 8 in California. There were rallies in Wilmington, Winston-Salem, Greensboro, Asheville, and Charlotte.

There is a list of those corporations and individuals who supported advertisement for Prop. 8.
Click here for more.

Something is stirring in the land.

But I remember Rep. Barney Frank suggesting that rallies were not enough: it is time to vote for the right people to be in power to overturn the hurt that has brought upon this land. And campaigning costs money. It will involve getting into the system to change the system as well as working outside the system.



Friday, November 14, 2008

Separation of Church and State

If you haven't figured it out yet, I'm fairly hot on the subject of separation of church and state. I do not want the state meddling in affairs of faith of the Church, and I do not want the Church meddling in affairs of the state. I do not believe in classroom prayer that is chanted by all students in public schools (of course, there is prayer every time a test is taken by believers and non-believers). I do not want the state telling the church there has to be an American flag in sanctuaries.

Same with issues of LGBTQ people and the state versus the church: while the state should provide all the benefits to LGBTQ people that it gives to straight people, the state cannot tell the church, mosque, or synagogue what to do with LGBTQ people.

I found this news item from the AP pool pathetic: a priest in SC is not providing Holy communion for those who voted for Pres.-elect Obama. The church is a hospital for sin-sick souls. Apparently, this priest--like this pastor--are at the top of the heap of needing the amazing grace elixir of love.

Click here for more.



USA Today: Poll Shows Support for Gay Marriage is Growing from the Ashes of Prop. 8's Win!

This makes sense of course, that support of gay marriage would gain numbers approving of gay marriage, because the campaign helped crystallize the salient issue at hand: taking away the rights of one group of people, thus making them second class citizens, and making it as permanent as possible in a state or federal constitution. Face it: no one in this country likes being considered a second class citizen!

Here's the article from USA Today: click here.



Raleigh, NC: Rally Against Prop. 8! Be There!

A shout out to my friend Tom Greene and others who are pulling a rally together in Raleigh, NC afternoon, protesting the passage of Prop. 8:

I've just found out that tomorrow, Saturday, November 15 is a national day of protest of California's Proposition 8. Those of you who know me well are familiar with my views about our rights, especially the right to marry. You've probably heard me speak to the notion that it's our own fault that we don't have absolutely equal rights in the US because we haven't stood up and demanded them. All of us, together, can change things. Fragmented, we can settle into our ruts and gripe about the way things should be.
Tomorrow, protests are scheduled all over the country. The closest one to us wll be at 1:30PM in Raleigh at the Halifax Mall, between Wilmington & Salisbury Streets, behind the NC Legislative Building. Others have done all the work of planning, getting permits, arranging volunteers and police protection. All we have to do is show up. Little to ask, I think, unless you have something more pressing than demanding the same rights as all other American citizens have.
You can check out the website for the protest at: http://jointheimpact.wetpaint.com/
I know we don't all share the same opinions. Not all of us would want to be married if we could. I don't understand, though, how some can not want to have the same opportunities as everyone else. In our country, marriage is an institution that gives people inumerable civil rights. If you don't want to have children, do you submit to castration? I don't think so. Some day, you might make a new decision. Why, then, would you allow our fellow citizens and government to cut off our ability to claim the same civil rights that they enjoy? Why wouldn't you support other gay people who want to get married, even if you don't?

Hope we can all be supportive of this important cause!



Teenage Sex

I multi-task in the morning: I read the newspaper, drink coffee, eat breakfast, listen to NPR, and one eye is on the "Today Show." This morning on the "Today Show," Tyra Banks was being interviewed by Matt Lauer, talking about a survey on teenage sex. The statistic: 1 in 5 teenagers is having sex in middle school and high school. Furthermore: on a recent Tyra Banks show, young girls from one of the survey clusters were on television and the majority of the young girls (13-18 y.o.) raised their hands when asked if they are having unprotected sex. Many of these girls already have genital herpes--which is permanent--and one girl has been treated twice for clamydia.

I googled Tyra Banks and came across this link to Cosmo-girl on www.momlogic.com. Click here to find out more.

The reports cite that one of the reasons that so many teenagers are having sex openly in public and private schools is because parents do not talk to their children about sex at home among their family.

In the past week I have heard from members of the church where I work about their "shock and awe" that I posted conversations with my son about sex in high school. We talk about sex in our household a great deal. Why? Because I don't want my son or daughter to have sex unless they are in an intimate and caring relationship, and preferably with the one they are wedded to or in a significant relationship for the rest of their life. As cited in the previous post, we asked my son how high schoolers understand the difference between heterosexual sex and homosexual sex. That post shocked some of the oldest members of the church where I work. Why did it shock them? A hunch: I don't think they've had such open and honest communication with a young person in their lives.

But hear--and read--me out: we are talking about these things not for salacious purposes. We are talking about these things because a previous generation of parents before us failed in their job and role models to talk about all the important things of life: money, power, God, education, music, art, physical education, drama, and sex...to name a few. Having open, loving, healthy conversations with both of my older children is something I cherish because it bodes well that their children will also have open and honest conversations with their children.

To quote Bob Dylan: "Times they are a'changin'."

As for me and my household, to quote Joshua, we shall talk about God, love, and sex.



Thursday, November 13, 2008

4,000 Protest at Mormon Temple in NYC last night; Mormons Leaving the Church: Something is Stirring in the Land

It is amazing to see, hear, observe, protest, and write about all that is happening in and around the "win" of Prop. 8 in CA. There is a sense that something has awaken in the land that will not be quiet anymore. There is a sense of "enough is enough." I've read some columns that think that asking for marriage equality is not a good; that we who are LGBTQ should be satisfied with civil partnership, e.g., Elton John and David. But Pandora's Box is now open, and you can't put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

Click here for an interesting article from a now-ex-Mormon from Salon.com today.

It is past time to change.


Loving Vs. Virginia: Important Case for LGBT Couples Marrying

Interracial marriage was made "legal" in 1968. Barack Obama's parents would not be allowed to be wed in most of the states of the Union when they brought him into the world. Interracial marriage has only be allowed or legal since 1968: forty years!

Times are changing, and we are changing in time.

Click here for more on Loving v. Virginia from Wikipedia.

Peace, B

Dan Savage (Writer) and Tony Perkins (Family Council): Great Debate on Anderson Cooper

Enjoy the debate!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wedding Bells Are Ringing in Connecticut!

While we mourn the passage of Prop. 8 and support the idea of prohibiting divorce--perhaps another constitutional amendment--in CA, there are wedding bells all over the state of Connecticut today. With marriage legalized for same sex couples in MA, now CT, and recognized in NY, the northeast is becoming a "hot bed" of normality for all couples, straight and gay alike.

Click here for more.

Pace, B

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Protect Marriage, Protect Our Children, Prohibit Divorce

This is great: "Protect Marriage, Protect Our Children, Prohibit Divorce," is fabulous! A proposition making it impossible for heterosexual couples from being able to divorce in CA! This is something we can bring to NC: prohibit all heterosexuals from being able to divorce! Amend the state constitutions! Outlaw all divorces.




Monday, November 10, 2008

Keith Olberman's Special Commentary on Prop. 8

This special commentary is a "winner," a "keeper," and one in which I wish those who are carefully recording, copying, and telling others of my blogspot also share far and wide.

Enjoy this commentary from MSNBC's Keith Olberman. He speaks the truth, for the speaks the Gospel.



Sunday, November 9, 2008

Obama-Biden and Prop. 8

On salon.com, Meredith Maran weighs in on the mixed blessings of Tue. night's election: yeah for Obama, but what happened in CA? Then I remember what Meredith added in this essay:

GWEN IFILL [to Joe Biden]: Do you support gay marriage?

JOE BIDEN: No. Barack Obama nor I support redefining from a civil side what constitutes marriage. We do not support that.

GWEN IFILL [to Sarah Palin]: Is that what you said?

SARAH PALIN: My answer is the same as his, and it is that I do not.

GWEN IFILL: Wonderful. You agree. On that note, let's move to foreign policy.

Of course, McCain-Palin was absolutely no better.

Click here for more...

It is time to change...

Pace, B

Frank Rich on Prop. 8.

10,000 people held a candle light vigil near an important gay bar--the Stonewall of L.A.--with thousands of others gathering together holding candle-light vigils because of Prop. 8's success. Protests have been erupting on the streets. Californians are not at peace with one another. In light of Obama's success, 70% of African Americans voted for Prop. 8: they voted for open discrimination, taking away a civil right of a certain segment of people.

Frank Rich of the nyt.com writes this about the recent election:

But Palin’s appeal wasn’t overestimated only because of her kitschy “American Idol” star quality. Her fierce embrace of the old Karl Rove wedge politics, the divisive pitting of the “real America” against the secular “other” America, was also regarded as a sure-fire winner. The second most persistent assumption by both pundits and the McCain campaign this year — after the likely triumph of racism — was that the culture war battlegrounds from 2000 and 2004 would remain intact.

This is true in exactly one instance: gay civil rights. Though Rove’s promised “permanent Republican majority” lies in humiliating ruins, his and Bush’s one secure legacy will be their demagogic exploitation of homophobia. The success of the four state initiatives banning either same-sex marriage or same-sex adoptions was the sole retro trend on Tuesday. And Obama, who largely soft-pedaled the issue this year, was little help. In California, where other races split more or less evenly on a same-sex marriage ban, some 70 percent of black voters contributed to its narrow victory.

Click here for more.

It is time to change.

Peace, B

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Starting to Re-Group After the Win of Prop. 8

Andrew Sullivan had some interesting connections/links with other bloggers and writers who are reflecting on the passage of Prop. 8 this past week in CA. Putting all the blame on either the Mormon Church, African American churches or Latino/a groups seems to be too easy because there is no homogeneity within those groups either.

It is clear that the only way forward is by educating, educating, and educating.

Click here for more, and here for more.

Onward to educating folks!

Pace, B

Friday, November 7, 2008

Civil Rights Movements: Equal Rights for Marriage

On Diane Rheam show on NPR this morning, one of the statements made by one of the panel members about the success of Prop. 8 in CA is something like this (to paraphrase): the LGBTQ movement is following the pattern of all civil rights movements: it moves in fits and starts. We make successes in one arena, only to be thwarted in other arenas. This was true for African Americans, for women, for people with disabilities, and for Hispanic Americans.

What is hurtful about the passage of Prop. 8 in CA is that so many African American churches and churches of Hispanic voters were literally bussed to the polls with the following orders: vote for Barack, and for pro-Prop. 8.

As one friend from CA wrote: "So the people who know discrimination best are best able to discriminate."

It is time to change.


Thursday, November 6, 2008

Equality: A Painful Pilgrimage

In the nyt.com today there was this well-written editorial about the losses the LGBTQ community took on Tue.: gay marriages banned in FL, CA and AZ, and not being able to adopt children in AR. The one that is most painful was in CA because, as the essay states, we had the right to marry, and that was then taken away, making us second class citizens by law and by the constitution of that state if you are a resident of that state. However CA did pass a bill in which certain animals would have enough room to stretch their legs in former-cramped conditions. So CA sided with farm animals and not LGBTQ couples!?

Here are the choicest lines:

Far from showing that California’s Supreme Court was wrong to extend the right of marriage to gay people, the passage of Proposition 8 is a reminder of the crucial role that the courts play in protecting vulnerable groups from unfair treatment.

Apart from creating legal uncertainty about the thousands of same-sex marriages that have been performed in California and giving rise to lawsuits challenging whether the rules governing ballot measures were properly followed, the immediate impact of Tuesday’s rights-shredding exercise is to underscore the danger of allowing the ballot box to be used to take away people’s fundamental rights.

Read here for more (click).



Marriage: A Contract Versus a Covenant

Fascinating to hear and watch the repercussions coming out of California in the recent vote for Prop. 8, in which the state constitution of CA is being amended to be sure that marriage is only "between a man and a woman."

On NPR this morning, the reporter covering the repercussions interviewed a pastor from a large mega-church in CA, in which the pastor said that "the Bible says that marriage is between a man and a woman." He offered the hearers of this story to correct him if he is wrong, but he was sure that the Bible says that marriage is between "a man and a woman."

Herein lies the problem: the Bible does not say that anywhere. There is no such wording in either the Old Testament or Hebrew Scriptures or the New Testament. Moses, Jesus, Mary, and Paul do not say marriage is between a man and a woman.

Genesis 2: 24: a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked, and were not ashamed.

No where in this often cited passage does the word "marriage" or "married" come into discussion. Granted, there is the reference to the word and noun, "wife," but there is a whole lot going on "underneath" and around that noun, with assumptions that need to be named. For example, polygamy was a common practice by our biblical forbears, e.g., Abram. Do we condone polygamy in this culture? Ask Mormons, in which their move to the now-state of Utah was done in order to practice polygamy, as do fundamentalist Mormons to this very day, e.g., Texas. What was fascinating was that so much of the pro- Prop. 8 money came from the Mormon church! A Church that openly practiced polygamy until the last few decades.

The pastor on NPR is wrong. We can put a lot of biblical ideas together and make a conjecture that the Bible says that marriage is between a man and a woman, just like we put a lot of biblical ideas together to make a conjecture that the Holy Trinity exists, even though the Bible never states anything explicit about Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as the Holy Trinity.

Herein lies our reality: in the USA, being married is a contractual agreement between two individuals. People can marry 1 to however many times they want in the USA, as long as they're heterosexual, save for those who live in the states of CT and MA. When I wed people I am, in part, an agent of the State, witnessing and certifying the contract between two people. The state doesn't care if I say or don't say "God" in a wedding.

However, for those of us in the Church, a marriage may also be a ritual--not a sacrament in the PCUSA--in which two people are vowing to be in a covenantal relationship not only with each other, but with God as well...but only if their vows make that explicit.

Can marriage between two men and two women be allowed? Yes. The state decides the boundaries and context of what is a marriage. Does the church have to allow it? No. Because the church is not part of the State.




Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Blogs and Blog Etiquette


Good morning!

I'm a bit loopy this morning with the news of President-Elect Obama. It hasn't all soaked in yet. My state--NC--looks like it finally voted for the new President! I'm watching the results on Prop. 8 in CA as I write this, and the word is still out as to what happened to it (11:43 A.M. as I write this).

I've been made aware that there are more people than I knew who are reading this blog that I started after the publication of ON BEING A GAY PARENT. This blog site is all about gay parenting issues, and things pertaining to gay parenting. There are some things that are discussed on this blog that may be a startling revelation to some, but are quite ordinary to others and draw a large yawn. But the focus is on all those aspects of life--politics, religion, cultural icons, international news, television shows, movies, DVDs, cds, plays, theological issues, biblical issues, common day occurrences, etc.,--that impact, have an influence, effect, affect, and draw my attention as a dad of two amazing kids...and I happen to be created by the Almighty Creator as gay.

Now, for those who are reading my blog and not commenting on this blogsite about what is written but spreading word and making photo copies about my blog without chatting with me, I've included a list of blog etiquette, thanks to Deborah Ng (click here).

Here is her list:
  1. Unless you have permission, it’s never OK to post someone else’s words on your own blog. You’re certainly welcome to provide a quote with attribution but to reprint the entire post is not good blog etiquette at all. In fact, it can get your blog shut down and your hosting taken away.
  2. When you comment on someone else’s blog, there’s usually a line under the name and email for a link to your blog or website and that should suffice. There’s no reason to link your blog again in the comments. We know where to find you if we need you. If you have a link you feel is relevant to the topic, contact the blogger, she will probably bring it to the attention of her readers. Please don’t spam.
  3. It’s ok to disagree with bloggers or those who drop comments, but do be respectful. Calling names, using vulgarity and telling me to get back in the kitchen to make a sandwich only show off your ignorance. If you can’t offer a decent rebuttal, keep your thoughts to yourself.
  4. Respond to commenters. Your readers took the time to offer their thoughts, keep them coming back by reciprocating.
  5. Don’t forget, everything you write is on display for the world to see. If you don’t want to the world knowing something, don’t post it. Many employers now Google potential employees. If you’re showing off your lingerie or ranting about your previous boss, these won’t bode well in your favor.
Here's another list from The Original Mud Puppy:

Blog Etiquette

This post is about 3 years overdue. It’s not that I’ve finally figured it all out, or even that I get all these right myself, but rather it’s just time to begin to put my thoughts down on a post and see where it goes. There really is a serious lack of good Blog Etiquette posting on the blogosphere. I’ve seen a few that I really like, and I’ll link to them at the bottom of this post. I’ll just cover the big hitters and let you finish the rest in the comments, as well as encourage you to check out the other links provided.

Rule #1 - Don’t blog about something that will get you fired, or cause you to lose a relationship. Unless, of course, you’re fine with losing said job or relationship.

Rule #2 - Link Love. Link to those you read, as well as provide relevant links in your posting so people don’t have to look stuff up on their own.

Rule #3 - Comments. If you read someone’s blog and enjoy it, it’s good form to let them know. But don’t let the comments validate your blog. Simply allow them to enhance it. Anonymous comments suck. Don’t leave them. Also, don’t be frightened by dissent or bad behavior in your comments either. The dissent is actually doing you a favor, and if someone is acting improper, simply give them a warning and then ban them the next time. I could really type so much more on this topic, but I’ll hold back for now.

Rule #4 - Be Regular. Nobody likes to visit a site only to see the same post from last month sitting there. Eventually they’ll just stop coming.

Rule #5 - Don’t be long winded. At least too often. There are times when it’s alright to expound a bit. But let that be the exception, not the rule.

Rule #6 - Do all that’s in your power to have proper punctuation, spelling, paragraph returns, etc. Run on sentences and thoughts are so annoying for your reader.

Rule #7 - Mix it up. Don’t get typecast. Make your readers have no earthly idea what you are going to post next. Make this a place for visual, emotional, and intellectual stimulation. Use pictures, videos, articles, links—but use them well.

Rule #8 - Be controversial, but be real. Ruffle some feathers. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and be wrong. But don’t put on a facade.

Rule #9 - Do it for yourself. I covered this slightly with the comments and validation, but don’t be driven by the stats or comments. Put stuff out there that is important to you and let the chips fall where they may.

Rule #10 - Rules are made to be broken. So break some. Make it yours and be happy with it.

People become very courageous behind their computer screens. Really, it doesn’t take a whole lot to be considerate. A good rule of thumb is to treat other people’s blogs like you would treat your own. Be nice, be respectful and be considerate.

I look forward to the conversations! Please hit the "comment" icon, and let's chat!

Ta for now!