I suppose this makes me intolerant. As “articulate” as Maggie Gallagher, author of a recent article in the National Review titled Why I, Unlike Senator Rubio, Would Not Attend a Gay Wedding, is attempting to be, what I am left with is the damaging horror that is so many religions. The fact that Gallagher believes that attending a gay wedding “would be witnessing and celebrating your attempt not only to commit yourself to a relationship that keeps you from God’s plan but, worse, I would be witnessing and celebrating your attempt to hold the man you love to a vow that he will avoid God’s plan,” is immensely disturbing. Not surprising, mind you, but deeply troubling nonetheless.
“A federal judge in San Francisco decided today that gays and lesbians have a constitutional right to marry, striking down Proposition 8, the voter approved ballot measure that banned same-sex unions.”
It’s about time. I keep hearing the same misguided argument that marriage is a religious union between a man and a woman.
Perhaps for some.
But this is America where freedom of religion is a right. So, firstly, not everyone subscribes to the same religion or interpretation of religion.
Second, who says marriage is only a religious union? Are Atheists not allowed to marry? I wasn’t raised with the notion that marriage was a religious union and I’m an American. Does that mean those married by a justice of the peace and not a priest or a rabbi or some other religious figure are not truly married? C’mon, people. You may have your preferences, but stop deciding the definition of marriage for all people. THAT, my friend, is NOT American.
Third, there’s the argument that a child should be raised by a male and a female, a mother and a father. Okay, so what about gay couples that don’t want children? Or what about heterosexual single parents? If one dies or goes off to war and is not present for the child’s developmental years… Should that marriage be annulled? Are those kids in horrible danger of becoming deviants? Or perverts? Should the surviving parent have their child or children taken away?
Fourth, there’s the argument that all gay couples want is what is already offered through civil unions. By what if what they want is to be equal? What if what they want is to be able to express their love for one another through an institution and ritual that they were taught is what one does when one is in love. They get “married.” What if one person’s definition of marriage, like one’s definition of Christianity, Judaism, Democracy, etc., is different from someone else’s?
No, for America to work, for it to be the land of the free, all people must be treated equal. They must have equal rights. And in order to achieve that, we must have tolerance and understanding.
Then there’s the lovely notion that gays getting married tarnishes the very institution of marriage itself. Really? I know and have seen quite a few heterosexual couples that don’t do much justice to, or seem to display an overwhelming respect for, the institution of marriage. It’s on a couple by couple basis. By the same token, I know a number of gay marriages that I, as a heterosexual, hope to someday be able to emulate in both commitment, communication and expression of love and understanding.
We should all be so blessed.
Scott Lively, the president of one of the most hateful organizations in America –Abiding Truth Ministries– has spoken out against Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill. A bill he, in essence, helped create.
“I suggested they liberalize the law, not to make it more [harsh]. What’s the gay agenda in Uganda? It’s the attempt to homosexualize the country like they did in so many other countries. … To change the moral foundation of the society, away from a marriage-based culture, to one of sexual anarchy.”
Well, it seems Mr. Lively’s outspoken opinion of homosexuals has rubbed off on Uganda’s lawmakers –who were already severely homophobic– to the point where they are proposing a bill that would, if passed, make Homosexuality punishable by a lengthy prison sentence or, in many cases, death.
So what was Lively doing in Uganda in the first place?
He was invited.
According to Lively himself:
“They were concerned about the attempts… by American and European gays, mostly men, who were coming into their country, messing with the young men in the country, and trying to influence their political and cultural policies.”
Lively visited Uganda to give a series of talks along with Don Schmierer and Caleb Lee Brundidge, two American evangelical Christians who are well known for their teaching that homosexuality can be “cured.”
According to Stephen Langa, who organized the Ugandan event, the purpose of these talks was “the gay agenda — that whole hidden and dark agenda.”
I guess they succeeded. And many lives may be lost as a result. Certainly many lives will be destroyed. And many will be directly linked to Mr. Lively’s “teachings,” despite his insistence that he does “not believe in incarceration for homosexuality.” Unfortunately, Lively’s assessment of his talks in Uganda is that “Our campaign was like a nuclear bomb against the ‘gay’ agenda in Uganda.”
According to Wikipedia:
For three days, according to participants and audio recordings, thousands of Ugandans, including police officers, teachers and national politicians, listened raptly to the Americans, who were presented as experts on homosexuality. The visitors discussed how to make gay people straight, how gay men often sodomized teenage boys and how “the gay movement is an evil institution” whose goal is “to defeat the marriage-based society and replace it with a culture of sexual promiscuity.”
These talks are widely considered to have been instrumental in the development of the Uganda Anti-Homosexual Bill which would:
“broaden the criminalization of homosexuality in Uganda, including introducing the death penalty for people who have previous convictions, who are HIV-positive, or who engage in sexual acts with those under 18,introducing extradition for those engaging in same-sex sexual relations outside Uganda, and penalising individuals, companies, media organizations, or NGOs who support LGBT rights.”
So let’s take a look at Mr. Lively’s credits to see who else he’s been influencing lo these many years. In addition to heading the Abiding Truth Ministries –which it should be stated is listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center— Lively was also the co-author of a book titled THE PINK SWASTIKA which suggested direct links between homosexuals and the Nazi Party. He is also the former state director for California’s branch of the American Family Association, which is an organization that promotes so-called conservative Christian values. Those values basically boil down to being anti-pornography, anti-gay, pro-life, and in favor of “traditional” marriage only. They also support deregulation of the oil industry and oppose the Employee Free Choice Act which, if passed, would “amend the National Labor Relations Act to establish an efficient system to enable employees to form, join, or assist labor organizations, to provide for mandatory injunctions for unfair labor practices during organizing efforts, and for other purposes.”
The American Family Association defines itself as “a Christian organization promoting the biblical ethic of decency in American society with primary emphasis on TV and other media”
Lively also formed the anti-homosexual group Watchmen on the Walls based in Riga, Latvia, which supports conversion therapy and describes itself as “the international Christian movement that unites Christian leaders, Christian and social organizations and aims to protect Christian morals and values in society.”
Those Christian morals and values include anti-gay rallies wherein gays and lesbians are pelted with bags of excrement. A practice I’m sure Jesus would have approved of.
So why waste time writing about such lunatics as Lively and his associates? Because it’s people like Lively who help spread hatred, fear and gross misunderstanding. And in doing so, they have a direct negative impact on the lives of many human beings. This is the same reason I write about Sarah Palin, Dick Cheney, George W. Bush, Glenn Beck, etc. Because, while they may only represent a fringe, folks should at least be aware of what is being said and how it is being heard.
And while I don’t know where Mr. Lively and friends claim to get their information about the “gay agenda” from, you can read about Mr. Lively’s agenda right here, in his own words and in crystal clear black and white.
From Lively’s DECIPHERING ‘GAY’ WORD-SPEAK AND LANGUAGE OF CONFUSION:
“If homosexuality is not innate, it must be acquired. And if it can be acquired, we dare not allow homosexuality to be legitimized to our children. If there remains any shadow of doubt as to the cause of homosexuality, we must err on the side of protecting our children. Indeed we must actively discourage them from viewing homosexuality as safe and normal, when in fact it is demonstrably neither safe nor normal. It bears noting here that normalcy is functioning according to nature or design. Normalcy is not based on popular opinion.
“…The truth about homosexuality is self-evident. Self-evident truths are not taught, they are revealed. Helping people overcome “gay” sophistry does not require teaching them new facts and figures or raising their level of intellectual sophistication. On the contrary, it requires a clearing away of the misinformation that obscures the simple reality of things.”
I love Sweden. No, I do. I lived there back in the mid-eighties. I speak the language–however poorly so many years later–but I can still stumble my way through a conversation (I was relatively fluent back in the day, however). And yes, Sweden has always had a reputation for being sexually “open” but, truth be told, I never found it to be all that different from other European countries. Nudity, sex… It’s all part of life so why keep it hidden behind locked doors?
Well, it seems the Muslim population in Sweden has grown exponentially since I lived there. Sweden, with a full 10 million inhabitants, has granted full refugee status to 24,799 Iraqis between 2003 and 2007. To put that in perspective, Great Britain has granted that same status to a mere 260.
Something else you should know about Sweden. While the legal age of sexual consent in America is 18, it is 15 in Sweden. I know, I know, it sounds young, but I and many I know were sexually active by 15 or 16. And it by no means suggests that all 15 year olds are having sex. But to the ones that are, more power to them, I say.
But that’s not the point here. The point is that, since the legal age is 15, it is mandatory in Sweden to have sex education classes at 14. Now this has never raised a hackle among the Swedes, but the influx of Muslim immigrants into the country has thrown a wrench in the system.
“The purpose of the sex education is to provide good information about how the body works, to make the students feel secure in their sexuality and to prevent sexual diseases and unwanted pregnancies,” said Ann-Cristine Jonsson of the Swedish National Institute of Public Health.
The students are taught about various types of sexually transmitted diseases like HIV, chlamydia, herpes, hepatitis, and others. Condoms in different flavors like strawberry and orange are handed out to students to take home (oh, those kids and their sweets…). Students are also taught that it is normal to have intercourse with members of the same sex and that they should not tease or bully fellow classmates who are gay.
But certain members of the Muslim community have kept their children out of sex education classes. According to statistics, the concerned parents are more often Muslim fathers concerned about their daughters and Muslim parents who are immigrants, as opposed to Muslim parents born in Sweden. Twenty-seven percent of immigrant’s daughters are kept from partaking in certain school subjects.
However, not all of the Muslim children want to be kept out of these classes. According to 14 year old Fatima Omed whose parents moved to Sweden from Turkey before Fatima was born:
“My parents do not think that the school should run any sex education at all. They say it is not the school’s business. But I think it is exciting. I do not show the condoms for Mum or Dad. I do not plan to use the condoms anytime soon,” she added, laughing.
A new law is being considered that would abolish a provision that was originally set up for Jewish and Catholic students who wanted to get out of religious education classes. All students had the right to opt out of these subjects if they chose.
If this provision were abolished, Muslim parents would no longer have the right to stop their children from taking these classes.
“All students have the right to take part in the compulsory school education, regardless of whether their parents approve or disapprove,” said Sweden’s education secretary, Jan Bjorklund.
Sex education in school has been required learning in Sweden since 1955.
One concern that has been voiced is that if the provision were to be abolished, Muslim parents may pull their children out of school entirely, thus widening the gap between native Swedes and immigrants.
What are your thoughts?
Okay. I’m a straight guy. Who has been writing quite a bit lately about Prop 8, El Coyote, and the Warren pick. And I’ve taken some heat. And I’ve found some support. But straight or gay, I want to see an America where EVERYONE IS EQUAL. I want to see an America where my friends, family and loved ones all can get married and live their dreams.
I want to try and understand those that feel/think differently from me. Not because I want to support their cause, but because they are a part of the country I live in. Because they are human beings. Because I see no good coming from demonizing ANYONE or distancing anyone to the point where communication and common ground is non-existent or not possible.
Academy Award-winning and two-time Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Melissa Etheridge sat down and met with Rick Warren the other night. Etheridge’s wife, Tammy Lynn Michaels, wrote about the meeting on her blog. I have posted that blog in its entirety below. I am posting it not to defend Rick Warren, but to add more food for thought. But first…
I wrote a comment the other day on a post. The post slammed Obama’s choice of Warren to give the inaugural invocation. I tried to voice again my feelings and attitudes at this moment in what is a very heated and sensitive area. This is what I wrote:
I don’t think Obama is saying or suggesting that Warren is right. In fact, he has verbally said that he does not agree with pastor Warren on these issues. That said, it’s a questionable choice. And people are confused, angry, baffled. And with good reason.
At the same time, I voted for Obama and he stated that one of his missions was to genuinely reach out to all Americans, not just the ones who shared his values. George Bush promised the same thing, but once in office, his true agenda became clear. I fully expected Obama to make some decisions that I would find hard to swallow and/or would not be completely in sync with my perfect vision of America. But my perfect vision of America doesn’t exist and probably won’t in my lifetime, if ever. And sometimes moves that seem downright wrong can turn out to be daring, courageous steps toward a greater purpose, toward a true unity. This may or may not be one of those steps and I know there are many who are ready to condemn Obama outright for this choice. While I’m not happy about it, I am willing to wait and watch and see if Obama can actually move us an inch or two closer to an America where people of VERY different belief systems can learn to at least better understand one another and have a more open dialogue.
My knee-jerk response to people like Warren are to get them the hell away from me and condemn them hook, line, and sinker. No room for bigots and racists in my world. But bigotry and racism are still a part of America and religion. A big part, I’m afraid. And there is more to Warren than his comments on homosexuality, as heinous as those comments are. So, while not outright supporting Obama’s choice, I am ready to watch and see what comes of it. He is a smart man, but certainly not a perfect one. I, for one, am willing to give him a chance. Not blindly, but with the understanding that to actually accomplish some of his goals, he is going to have to freak both parties out a little bit. He is (soon to be) the President of the United States. Not the President of the left-leaning members of the United States. So I’m gonna push my knee-jerk reaction aside and put some hope in the notion that change is difficult. For everyone. Myself included. And yes, Obama has reached out quite a bit to the right already and maybe this one is one arm-length too many. But it is possible that this move is less about reaching out to the right, and more about forcing people to come face to face with their most terrifying demons, and learning that we may share some common ground. And that in so doing, we may begin to elicit change. And for that possibility, I am willing to give Obama the chance to at least try. The alternative is someone like Bush or McCain or Palin, none of whom offer me any hope whatsoever. I voted for Obama because he offered hope where before I saw none. And though Obama’s choice of Warren is a tough pill for me to swallow, I’m gonna at least give the man a chance to try and do what he said he would. After all, the biggest positive changes in my life came out of moments I went into kicking and screaming. It’s only looking back at them now that I can fully understand what blessings they really were.
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 21, 2008
the big rick’s yamaka
OMG. when was the last time i had so many minutes to play with my blog? awesome.
so honey met rick warren last night. well, she spoke to him on the phone beforehand, giving us insight into the man the media has made our latest “HE HATES YOU!” target. if i sit real still and think about it.. it’s almost like reverse smear-the-queer. remember that recess game in second grade (natalie? derek? karyn?), when one kid had the ball, and all the other kids had to chase and kick the shit out of said person, hence “smearing” him? well, at times, it seems that the media presents us with target after target to smear, as if to say to us, “THIS IS THE GUY HOLDING YOU BACK!! GO GIT ‘IM!!!” and it does seem that my lovely gay family is so bruised and bettered and ready to fight back (myself included), that we attack and deem someone ANTI-GAY, and ready to SMEAR, simply when they don’t want the word “marriage” brought into our gay ceremonies. now, if the person doesn’t want gays AT ALL, then i’m gonna chase that one down. but, i’m starting to think that there are indeed some people… some well-meaning and loving people… who are not at all ANTI-GAY, that’s not why they don’t want the word marriage used… they are merely RELIGIOUS. and for religious (archaic) reasons, they want to stay safe and respectful to WHAT THEY’VE BEEN TAUGHT.
let me try to differentiate the two.
let’s say i am wearing a baseball cap. now what if i want to call it a yamaka? you know- it’s basically the same thing, but one is missing the sun visor. i don’t call my caps yamakas… cuz that is a religious name for a hat that is worn by religious people. now if i apply that thinking to this situation…. i would like to think of it as…. if they afford us the EXACT SAME RIGHTS, then who cares what it’s called? my friend joel can wear his yamaka. i can wear my hat. joel can light his menorah, i’ll light my candle. joel can eat his matzo ball soup, and i can break crackers into my soup. joel and hanna can have a piece of paper with the word MARRIAGE on it, and all 1200 rights… and i can have a piece of paper with who-cares on it, and all 1200 rights. the word marriage is a religious, holy, word that people who go to church on sundays are told belongs to them. like yamaka, menorah, or matzo.
rick is not a televangelist. rick is not falwell. rick spoke of some “stupid” things he’s said (his word, not mine), some missquotes that were given, and lots of ammunition from the media. all excellent points. (we’re all war-minded right now, you know. it’s easy for the media to distract us by throwing us into our own verbal wars here at home.) ) what to do, what to do…. the rest of the public is given an animation of rick warren… and then my wife meets the man behind the projections, the quotes, the “OTHER SIDE”. and he is warm, caring, effusive, and LOVES gays. since he nearly swallowed honey when he hugged her, i tend to believe him. he wants our gay marriages to be just as respected and embraced as the straight marriages. he just wants to wear his yamaka, and me wear my hat.
anway. hath hell frozenth over? rick warren was humble and kind. honey and i are to go to his church sometime soon. and honey invited him to our house for an afternoon, to be with our family. (w.t.f.)
open minds hearts hands