So my dentist in NC asked me how I was enjoying my short stay in NC. "It's going well!" "What have you done in NC while you've been here?" he asked. "I've gone into every women's bathroom in the state," I said. He laughed so hard he almost fell off his padded stool.
Crazy times in NC.
Hate-filled times in NC.
Time to take the state back to the 21st century rather than the 1950s.
Even though I now live in the state of OR, I must confess that my heart aches for what is going on in the state politics that is NC. I'm not surprised. I am sad. I am not surprised because I remember watching when the General Assembly in 2010 pass a bill to amend the NC Constitution, to deny us marriage equality, watching Dems and Republicans alike sign on with it, knowing that then-Gov. Perdue couldn't veto it (not in her powers). I remember phone bank calls and attending rallies in RDU area, only to drive 10 miles out of the bubble of Chapel Hill to see the pro-Amendment 1 votes to deny us marriage equality. We were the last state in the South to enact something so vile. .
Now we lead the nation in a more vile bill, HB2, that discriminates against a large minority group. The General Assembly Republicans know what they are doing: they are driving out their base voter for 2016. This is all about getting out the vote in 2016, driving out by rallies and phone calls, etc. But voting matters. This is how these men and women got into power: by the people who voted for them.
Dear LGBTQI United Methodist Pastors: As an out gay pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA), serving St. Andrew’s in Portland, Oregon, and as a former faculty member of Duke Divinity School (a United Methodist Church seminary), welcome to Portland! There are many out LGBTQI clergy in the Portland area who are praying for a change in your Book of Discipline that will allow LGBTQI people to be out and ordained, or marry the one you love. Here, kissing on a city street is permitted. Here, unlike North Carolina, citizens can use public restrooms without being asked about their gender or gender identity. Here, you can go see a movie and hold hands with little fear of violence; go to a concert and put your arm around your date; and hug each other after a Portland Timbers or Thorns soccer game goal with no one staring. There are so many bars and restaurants that are LGBTQI friendly that going to a specific gay or lesbian bar is unnecessary to find community. If coming to a welcoming city is a new or unique experience, consider trying this: breathe. Set aside whatever remnant of your LGBTQI closet is holding you back from stepping out, and breathe. Go to one of our many beautiful parks and breathe. Walk. Run. Live. Love. Feel free to sing, dance, shout, and tell your story. Be the person our Creator created, and the one that Jesus loves unconditionally. One last word as you make your case with allies for marriage equality and recognition of being who you are? Courage! Pax, Brett
Chapel Hill and Carrboro, North Carolina, United States
I am a dad, who happens to be gay, with two amazing young adult children who have taught me, my partner, and their mom what grace, faith, hope, and love are all about. I am also an ordained clergyperson in the Presbyterian Church (USA), involved in congregational life, sometimes preaching here and there, and an oblate of St. Benedict's Monastery in St. Joseph, MN. I taught at Duke Divinity School at Duke University for over a decade, and I currently teach at North Carolina Central University in Durham, NC. I teach Ethics, World Religions, and English. And I am the Director of a religious non-profit, "School of the Pilgrim" (www.schoolofthepilgrim.com), in which I take people on actual pilgrimages to break out of the religion of rush hour in order to find their inner spiritual path. I am also glad to work with and be an advocate with people living with disabilities in faith communities, who teach me more about life in all its wonders and quirks. Enjoy the blog! And for more information about the book ON BEING A GAY PARENT, go to www.onbeingagayparent.com. Email contact: firstname.lastname@example.org, and phone is 919-444-9111