Sunday, November 30, 2008

Being Gay, Living with AIDS, and Living in Haiti

There was this interesting report on 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, 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 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 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, 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 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, 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 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:
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 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 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 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, 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 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 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!


Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Tonight, in this election, with President-elect Obama, the residual effect of the Confederacy, has died.

And for those of us who are outsiders in this country, we are now equals: black and white, LGTBQ and straight, women and men: we are equals. Equals. We were already equals in the purview of God. Tonight we are equals as a country.

Thanks be to God.



Monday, November 3, 2008

Three Out of Four

In listening to NPR this morning, I heard about four ballot initiatives or state elections that will shape the lives of LGBTQ people. These are the three I know and heard about, but am guessing at the 4th, open to being informed as to what is the fourth election issue influencing our lives:
1. CA: Prop. 8: taking away the rights of LGBTQ people from being wed;
2. FL: Re: marriage of LGBTQ people;
3. Arkansas: ONLY couples who are married as in "man and woman" can adopt;

There was another state that was voting about domestic partnership claims for those not in "holy matrimony." Does anyone know what the fourth state is?

Nevertheless: all four are on my prayer list.



Saturday, November 1, 2008

Psychological Tests and Candidates For Ordination: Not the Answer

There was this news last week that the Catholic church will use psychological tests to weed out closeted gay priests. Click here from


What person who really wants to be ordained won't say ANYTHING in order to pass through a psychological test? Those who administer tests are psychologists who are more into the psychometric aspect of administering the test correctly--which usually involves answering a set of questions in a survey-format--rather than anything radical like sitting with a person and truly getting to know the other person. The person giving the test and the one taking the test know that this is a game of hide-and-go-seek.


So much for us living transparent lives!