Friday, October 31, 2008

A Big Mormon and Gay Wedding!

This is a wonderful story from about the wedding of Brian Dietrich and Jay Redd, pictured in matching kilts and tartan, black coats, and matching red beards.

Jay was brought up to be a good Mormon. And Jay also knew he was and is and will be forevermore gay. His mom agreed to come to the wedding, but the father was a harder nut to crack. Read the story below of how his dad, George, made the decision to attend the wedding:

After much contemplation about what to do about his son Jay's marriage, George realized that "the most important thing is to love and support our son in the decision he's made." He and the family would drive from Utah to San Francisco for Jay and Brian's wedding.

Jay recalls hearing the phone ring at 4 o'clock one morning. When he listened to the message later, it was his father. "I've been praying about this. I love you. You're my son. I want you to be happy, and if this marriage to Brian makes you happy, then I'm happy."

Jay sobbed.

Later, he asked his mother what she had said to him to influence his decision. "I didn't say much," she said. "I only asked him one question -- what do you think Jesus would do in this situation?"

What would Jesus do in this situation? Make water into wine!



p.s., click here for the article

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Secret Retreat for Gay Catholic Priests and the Rev. Gene Robinson...Shhhhh!!!

This little article on and the Union Leader is sad: Gene Robinson led a quiet, hush-hush retreat for gay clergy in the Catholic Church. It looks like 75 attended. By "quiet," it means that the superiors of the priests did not know they attended the retreat.

What is sad is that we have these retreats on the quiet, on the side, on the "hush hush" part of life, rather than in the light of day. Are there gay Catholic clergy? You bet! Are there gay Orthodox clergy? Sure! Are there gay ministers in the Southern Baptist Church? Lots! Are there gay pastors in African American churches? Yep! And are there gay ministers in the mainline and non-denominational, free-will Baptist, Seventh Day Adventist, Assembly of God, Holiness Pentecostal churches? Uh-huh. Lots. Loads. A plethora.

And are the majority of them living in the closet? Yep.

And is living in the closet of Don't Ask Don't Tell bad for your health of mind, body, and spirit? Sure is!

Got the point?

Click here for more!

Pace, B

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Sts. Sergius and Bacchus: Saints to Remember on All Saints' Day

This coming Sunday is All Saints' Day, which follows after All Hallow's Eve (Halloween) and All Souls' Day (hat tip to my Catholic and Orthodox Brothers and Sisters!).

For this day I want to lift up Sts. Sergius and Bacchus:

"Sergius and Bacchus were young Roman nobles and high ranking legionnaires in the Roman army stationed in late third/early fourth century Syria. For refusing to enter the Temple of Jupiter with fellow officers to make offerings there, they were stripped of their military garb and then humiliated by being paraded in heavy chains through the streets dressed in women's clothing.

In prison, while singing and praying, they were visited by angels who comforted them. Calling each other "brother," they claimed that in their "union" they became as one, as well as at one with Christ. Before Sergius was beheaded, Bacchus, who had been killed first, appeared to him as an angel wearing military garb.

The tomb of Saint Sergius became a famous shrine and was honoured by great gatherings of Christians because of the frequent miracles there. For nearly a thousand years Sergius and Bacchus were the heavenly protectors of the Byzantine army. Many early Christian churches bore the name of Sergius (sometimes with Bacchus), and his veneration was extraordinarily widespread and popular throughout the Mediterranean, the Middle East, and among the Slavs. The nomads of the desert invoked Sergius as their special protector. Christian Arabs continue to revere Sergius and Bacchus as their special patron saints.

During the Middle Ages, the relationship of Sergius and Bacchus was considered an example of compassionate union based on agape (brotherly love) and mutual respect.

Saints Sergius and Bacchus were counted among the patrons of soldiers and wandering warrior knights. Today they are invoked by Gay people and anyone persecuted or marginalised by the authorities for daring to follow their heart and conscience. Sts. Sergius and Bacchus are also venerated by spiritual dissidents and Christian non-conformists who refusing to 'go along with the crowd' do not lead an 'ordinary life'."

We need all the saints we can find, living and dead!

Pace, B

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Republicans in CA Against Prop. 8

Such good news! Bi-partisan support against Prop. 8 in CA! Republicans AND Democrats, along with Independents, are working hard to defeat Prop. 8.

Read the article via here.

Pace, B

Salon's Cary Tennis and the Closeted Gay Mormon

I like the advice of Cary Tennis,'s resident "Miss Manners" and "Dear Abby." His response to the closeted gay Mormon is pretty much on target in terms of coming out of the closet. First, he tells the closeted gay Mormon that he did the courageous thing in getting married, accommodating as best as possible to the situation he finds himself in life. Now he is even more courageous in coming out of the closet. But in order to do this he will need to help others come out of the closet:

"You must take action. But you did not get into this situation in one day, and you are not going to get out of it in one day, or with one simple solution.

You are just going to have to change your life.

In moments of crisis like this we need to connect to a community.

You have a lot to offer. I suggest you work with other gay Mormons.

You have a story to tell.

Think of all the gay young men who now stand at the same precipice where you once stood, looking out at the future, thinking of their family and their church, trying to make the most compassionate, selfless and reasonable decision. They cannot possibly know the pressures one must live under. It is probably tempting to do what you have done. So you can help people understand how sacred the individual self is. You can help them understand that though we do not know why things are the way they are, they are the way they are. Does that sound moronic? Well, you know what I mean, don't you? I mean that you can fight it but it's not going away.

Perhaps what I'm suggesting sounds egotistical. You see folks out there on the soapbox telling their stories and you wonder: Why should they help anyone? Why should they even try? There must be an angle.

Here is the angle: When we get desperate enough, we find that only by helping others can we climb out of our own unimaginable hell."

Click here for more.



Monday, October 27, 2008

"That's So Gay" Not So Good

Ruth Sheehan in today's News and Observer (Raleigh, NC), focused on the saying "That's so gay," which is a form of bullying. "That's so gay" is often followed up with "No offense," but it is offensive. It is a form of bullying; of discrimination; it is hate speech, clear and simple.

Simple statistic in which this phrase causes pain: "85% of the gay students said they had been harassed at school in the past year; three-fifths felt unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation; and almost a third of gay students had skipped a day of school in the past month because they felt unsafe."

Click here for more.

As Ruth finishes this essay: "That's so wrong."

Pace, B

Dr. James Dobson Weighs In On An Obama Administration

In an interesting article from, there is Dr. Dobson's vision of what the country will look like if there is an Obama Presidency. Dr. Dobson foresees the following:

Their description of America in another four years, contained in a “letter from the future,” is not a pretty sight. Here are a few highlights:

— By 2012, Obama has remade the U.S. Supreme Court into an activist, pro-gay institution, and as a result “the Boy Scouts no longer exist as an organization. They chose to disband rather than be forced to obey the Supreme Court decision that they would have to hire homosexual scoutmasters and allow them to sleep in tents with young boys.”

— “Tens of thousands of Christian (public school) teachers either quit or were fired, and there are hardly any evangelical teachers in public school any more… In addition, many private Christian schools decided to shut down after the Supreme Court ruled that anti-discrimination laws that include sexual orientation extended to private institutions such as schools.”

— “There are no more Roman Catholic or evangelical Protestant adoption agencies,” and Christian parents are being refused the right to adopt by secular adoption agencies because they have “”narrow’ or dangerous views on religion or homosexuality.”

— “The Bible can no longer be freely preached over radio or television stations when the subject matter includes such ‘offensive’ doctrines as criticizing homosexual behavior.” In addition, “churches have no freedom to refuse to allow their buildings to be used for wedding ceremonies for homosexual couples.” and “homosexuals are now given special bonuses for enlisting in military service.”

— Christian nurses, physicians, family counselors, lawyers and other professionals are being stripped of their right to work in those fields, and because homeschooling is now all but outlawed, thousands of homeschooling parents are moving their families to Australia or New Zealand.

— The U.S. Supreme Court has “nullified all Federal Communications Commission restrictions on obscene speech or visual content in radio and television broadcasts. As a result, television programs at all hours of the day contain explicit portrayals of sexual acts.”

— After President Obama pulled U.S. troops out of Iraq, “Al Qaida operatives from Syria and Iran poured into Iraq and completely overwhelmed the Iraqi security forces,” followed by mass executions. “The number put to death may soon reach the millions.”

— Four U.S. cities have been hit by terror attacks, and “in mid-2010, Iran launched a nuclear bomb that exploded in the middle of Tel Aviv… President Obama said he abhorred what Iran had done, and he hoped the U.N. would unanimously condemn this crime against humanity.”

— Russia has invaded and captured Georgia, Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria “with no military response from the U.S. or the U.N.” Instead, President Obama moved to strengthen US ties with communist regimes in Cuba, Venezuela and Bolivia.

— Health care has been nationalized, and “the waiting list for prostate cancer surgery is 3 years.” In fact, “people older than 80 have essentially no access to hospitals or surgical procedures. Their ‘duty’ is increasingly thought to be to go home to die….”

— “Conservative talk radio, for all intents and purposes, was shut down by the end of 2010,” and evangelical Christian book publishers have been barred from selling their products through Amazon, Borders and Barnes and Noble. And dozens of Bush officials, from the Cabinet level on down, are in jail.

I myself look forward to a country in which discrimination against a person simply because of his or her sexual orientation is a crime.

Click here for more.



Friday, October 24, 2008

Banksy Art

When I was in Israel, especially in the West Bank area of Bethlehem, I had a chance to see a lot of work by the muralist Banksy. I am smitten by Banksy eruptive, disturbing, eye-catching, provocative, evocative art.

On this Friday, amid all the clamor around No Against Prop. 8 in CA, barring gay marriages in FL, and all the other harmful bills, amendments, etc. that people wish would slow down the inevitable march toward full inclusion of LGBTQ people, I leave you this Friday with art by Banksy (see above).



p.s., in the end, love wins all.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Mamas and Papas...and the Kids in CA

AP report in Raleigh's News and Observer: "An estimated 52,000 children are being raised by two mothers or two fathers in California, which is one of 12 states with comprehensive anti-bullying laws that apply to gay students and children with unconventional families" (Oct. 23, 2008).

52,000 kids in CA alone! And those would be the ones who reported that they are two moms or two dads with kids. This is the tip of the iceberg, me thinks! Knowing that a lot of folks don't divulge their status, there is probably another 52,000 more with kids in CA who didn't report "I'm gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender." Then what about all those other states in the Union?

Reality check: there are more kids growing up with single LGBT parents, or parents in LGBTQ relationships that are--for all sakes and purposes married--as well as other arrangements, e.g., a bisexual mom or dad living with a opposite sex partner.

In other words: we're here, we're queer...let's get in our mini-vans and wake up America!

Pace, B

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Meanwhile, On the Other Side of the Country: FL!

You've got to love Florida. First it was Anita Bryant and her campaign against LGBT folks. Next, it was the legislature that made it impossible for us to adopt children.

Now there is a move in the state to forbid, ban, stop, prevent, but an end to something that hasn't begun: gay marriages! The amendment reads as follows: The proposed amendment says, “Inasmuch as marriage is the legal union of only one man and one woman, no other legal union that is treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent thereof shall be valid or recognized.”

Read here for more.

Now, herein lies the problem lately: no one wants it to be known that they are supporting this arcane amendment. Unlike CA, in which we know the Mormons are funding a large part of the pro-Prop. 8 amendment, FL folks want their names hidden. Why? Why not be public about your bigotry?



Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The African American Church, Gays (LGBTQ), and Prop. 8 in CA

There is support among many in the African American community for Prop. 8 in CA (see this article from, click here). Leonce Gaiter reports the following:

According to a SurveyUSA poll, 58% of black voters support Proposition 8, which would enshrine irrational fear and rank bigotry into the California Constitution in order to deny gays the right to marry. Black support is 10% higher than support of any other ethnic group. This is ironic, considering that in striking down the law banning same sex marriage, the California Supreme Court cited the landmark 1967 civil rights case Loving vs. Virginia that struck down the prohibition of interracial marriage.

A majority of California’s voting African-Americans seem blind to that irony, however. They see no kinship to their own past as a reviled minority whose sexual touch toward a single white man or woman would sully the entire “race” of American whites—just as legally sanctioning the sexual touch of same sex partners would so sully heterosexuals’ unions that they will… what? Seek immediate divorce? Abandon their children to the streets? Suffer mass orgasmic dysfunction?

Gaiter continues in the article by citing these two issues pertinent to the African American community:

1. the Bible says gays should not be tolerated, and that Jesus hates "fags." Gaiter rightly argues that no, the Bible does not say this;

2. Gaiter reminds the reader that it wasn't too long ago that the bias against those of African descent with black skin was based upon the erroneous conclusion that the color of one's skin was a result of Ham's sin or Noah's sin.

This bias is not only true in CA among the African American church community, but would probably be even worse in my state of NC.

It is time to change!

Pace, B

Monday, October 20, 2008

That's It!

My political "bent" is all over this website, but this makes me want to be explicit: I am not voting Republican for the presidential election. John McCain did not support a federal amendment of the U.S. Constitution, but Sarah Palin does, as she explained today to CBN:

Palin: I am, in my own, state, I have voted along with the vast majority of Alaskans who had the opportunity to vote to amend our Constitution defining marriage as between one man and one woman. I wish on a federal level that that's where we would go because I don't support gay marriage. I'm not going to be out there judging individuals, sitting in a seat of judgment telling what they can and can't do, should and should not do, but I certainly can express my own opinion here and take actions that I believe would be best for traditional marriage and that's casting my votes and speaking up for traditional marriage that, that instrument that it's the foundation of our society is that strong family and that's based on that traditional definition of marriage, so I do support that.

Enough is enough.

Politics matter.

Pace, B

Sunday, October 19, 2008

No On Proposition 8

That's the email address that we can use to send money for donating money, time, and talent. Even on the cusp of Stewardship Month, in the US, money is power, as is knowledge. I heard Armistead Maupin on Wed. night at the Carolina Theater in Durham, NC. A native born Carolinian who is living in CA, married to his partner (who runs and operates, Armistead made a pitch for "no on prop. 8." Steve Petrow, another writer, has cited a statistic from the Sacramento Bee, in which one man donated $35,000 who is pro-prop. 8. And the Mormon Church has donated a huge sum for prop. 8.

If this effort to stop prop. 8 in CA fails, other state legislatures will see this as the will of the people not to advance LGBT marriage in their states.

Time to donate!

Pace, B

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Ellen Against Prop. 8

I have seen this youtube clip on several websites and thought I'd join in the fun, though has even better and more comedic ones, with Margaret Cho and Molly Ringwald speaking out against the measure in California.

It feels rather weird and absurd to have all these states outlaw--in their constitutions--the right for LGBT people to marry. What makes it more absurd is knowing that so far, even with the right to marry among LGBT people there has been no unraveling of anyone else's heterosexual marriage. There has been no cause-and-effect showing any impact on any one's life, save for the family and friends of those who are being wedded; no statistic showing that gay marriage has hurt the population or caused further global warming; no children seem to be marred or harmed in the process of gays being wed.

What a farce this supposed "hysteria" is by those who ally themselves being "pro" Proposition 8 in California are playing. And the Mormon Church is spending a huge amount for the passage of this Proposition. I have a DVD for them to watch about a young blond boy, Mormon, in the closet, who asks the elders directly: "What about all those years of polygamy?" Someone should ask U.S. Sen. Gordon Smith, who is Mormon, who voted for the DOMA even though his family members practiced polygamy.

Here's the clip.

Enjoy. Pace, B

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

They'll Know We are Gay By Our Cars

My kids have teased me about this, and I have pointed it out to more than one or more friends who are lesbian about, you know, the um, er, car or truck they drive. When we had a red Chevy S-10, we felt very butch. We were told it was an appropriate truck for us to drive, as if a Ford or Toyota Tacoma wasn't butch enough.

I confess: I own a Jetta and a Cabrio.

I am so gay.

And it isn't just my friends who picked this up. On there was a list of the top 10 gay and lesbian cars:

1 VW Rabbit
2 VW Eos
3 Mazda MX-5 Miata and Audi A3 - tie
4 Mazda MAZDA3 and VW Jetta - tie
5 Toyota Yaris
6 Saab 9-3 and Dodge Caliber -tie
7 Volvo C30
8 smart fortwo
9 Toyota Matrix and MINI Cooper - tie
10 Maserati GranTurismo

While VW doesn't make Cabrios any more, they replaced them with the VW Eos.

See more by clicking here.

Pace, B

Monday, October 13, 2008

Fr. Geoffrey Farrow: Hero

Fr. Geoffrey Farrow: you are my hero for the day. Having come out to my Presbytery of New Hope, first the Exec. Presbyter and then the Committee on Ministry followed by the Church, I can relate to being gay and being part of an institution in which being "gay" is seen as a "sin," when it is the system itself that is "sinful." No separating "sin and sinner": the system is sinful.

Fr. Farrow came out in support of the "No" votes against Prop. 8, in which same-sex marriage in CA will be overturned. He also "came out," near Oct. 11th, National Coming Out Day. That he told his congregants that he did not support Prop. 8 during Mass seems appropriate. I would've enjoyed such an experience in preaching a sermon doing the very same thing. It is one of the high points of Catholic Mass (the other being the Eucharist).

Fr. Farrow: I salute you.

Read more here.

Pace, B

Friday, October 10, 2008

Confluence of Decisions Regarding LGBTQ Individuals and Families

The blogs and news channels are reporting the various decisions being made today: Connecticut said "yes" to LGBTQ marriages (third state in the USA); Portugal said "no," while Prop. 8 in California seems to be winning, same sex couples can adopt kids in Brazil, while pro-gay supporters are not allowed to protest in a town in Russia, and plans for a gay high school in Chicago continue to go forward.

What can you say but this: things are changing. Resistance is "fu-tile," is the Borg would say on one of the Star Trek movies. Things are changing not "our" way" or "their" way, but the right way: toward inclusion for and of all.

Pace, B

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Why Do We Bless Animals So Freely But Not LGBTQ Couples and Families?

In today's News and Observer: Faith and Life Section there was a photograph of the blessing (with oil) of the animals at a nearby Greek Orthodox Church in Raleigh. I know that Duke Chapel also blesses the animals after one of the worship services, as do other Catholic and Protestant churches, some using oil, other water, usually with a hand on the head or the body of the animal. No doubt St. Francis of Assisi inspired some of this habitual ritual. And as the owner of two dogs (and in the past numerous cats), I understand that our pets are part of God's glorious creation...

LGBTQ people are also part of God's glorious creation...

LGBTQ couples are also part of God's glorious creation...

While I fully understand that there is a difference in some people's minds between blessing an animal--which is O.K.--and blessing a LBGTQ couple--which is deemed not O.K.--within the current politics (and thus theology) of the Church, I'm having a harder time understanding or comprehending the distinction. If we are blessing animals/pets for simply "being" in an ontological sense, why can't we do the same with those of us who are LGBTQ in our committed relationships?

Because God doesn't approve?


Pace, B

Monday, October 6, 2008

The Right Rev. Gene Robinson: The Good and Gay Bishop

Got a chance to hear and meet with the Rev. Gene Robinson tonight at Duke Univ. Chapel. What a wonderfully real, authentic, transparent person.



Withdrawl and Re-Emergence: Back From Israel

It has been over two weeks since I've had time to get on-line and read about the LGBTQ world of north America. I went on an incredible pilgrimage to Israel, with an ear and eye toward seeing what it would be like to live in Jerusalem as a gay man. While there were the occasional winks and nods surreptitiously given among some men on buses and religious sites, there is not an obvious LGBTQ presence in Jerusalem, whether it is the Old City, West Jerusalem, or East Jerusalem. Nor was there a presence in Nazareth per se. While I met one other gay man while singing Broadway show tunes on a cable car descending from Masada (you had to be there), he said that there were a few of "our kind" in the city, but not much. As posted earlier, I know of gay men living in Tel Aviv, but not so much Jerusalem.

As I read,, and, I must say I miss, which my friend John and his friend managed. I now understand why it was such a break-through in that part of the world. But while there were not a visible community of LGBTQ people, I have no doubt we exist there, as we do in other repressive cities, towns, villages, and burgs.

Pace, B