Thursday, July 31, 2008

A HIERARCHY OF MORAL VALUES IN THE UNITED STATES SENATE


This is an excellent, well thought out, article that came out today by Margaret Carlson [Pictured].

"Let's take a civics quiz. In Congress which is worse: being corrupt or being gay? Time is up. Pencils down. If you answered being gay, you've been paying attention, class. Of the 10 Commandments, it is much better to break the one about stealing than the one about sex." [It's important to note that the Ten Commandments don't deal with homosexuality.]

You'll enjoy the whole article, and cringe at what it's depicting at the same time!
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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

GREAT NEWS ABOUT MASSACHUSETTS' AND OUT OF STATE MARRIAGE

This is great news coming out of Massachusetts, whereby same-sex couples from out of their state will be able to come to Massachusetts and marry. Their racist 1913 law, that was designed to prevent interracial marriage, is being recognized as the hateful anachronism that it is, despite some foolish current rationalizations, as seen in the article, to the contrary.

This ruling, and the California Supreme Court ruling affirming the right of same-sex couples to get married in California; the most recent and encouraging Field poll results concerning Prop. 8, the mean spirited attempt to annul the Court's decision in California that will appear on the ballot in November; the right to same-sex marriage in Massachusetts that was won several years ago, shows that it's only a matter of time before same-sex marriage will be fully accepted throughout the United States.

"In a major victory for advocates of same-sex marriage rights, the House voted by a wide margin yesterday to repeal a 95-year-old law that prevents gay and lesbian couples from most other states from marrying here, setting the stage for Massachusetts to join just one other state, California, in allowing same-sex couples to marry regardless of residence.

"The repeal passed swiftly in the Senate earlier this month on a unanimous voice vote, but some wondered if the issue would stall in the larger House, where a handful of lawmakers wanted to avoid voting on a gay marriage question just before the election season."

[For the full article, see here.

I've always been convinced that same-sex marriage rights is the single most crucial issue that must be fought and won, as with that right all other civil rights (and eventually sacramental rights) will likely follow suit for Gay people.
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Monday, July 28, 2008

DELUSIONAL TRAITORS WHO FIDDLE WHILE THE ROME OF FULL AND EQUAL LGBT RIGHTS BURNS

Please read this recent article in regard to the national movement to prevent same-sex marriages, where a lot of money and advertising is being poured into trying to convince the voters to vote against same-sex marriages.

And then, please read this article by Tristan Taormino as well as the following quote, "Adam has just released his second music video for the song 'Faggoty Attention' which is featured on the soundtrack for the film '4 Letter Word'," taken from "news" on this website, and now please read this interview with "Jonny 'The Gay Pimp' McGovern and Adam Joseph, where the word "faggot" is liberally used and "justified" as a source of "liberation" and "empowerment."

Indeed, McGovern is quoted as saying in this interview:

"When I was a teenager dealing with coming out, the idea of being a "fag" was terrifying. But as I came out and came into my own I realized all of those 'faggy' things that I was afraid of being are what made me truly myself. And as I got older I embraced the idea of faggotry as a great thing and I became less afraid to use it as a term of empowerment for myself and my crew. Make no mistake, it’s like the N word. I don't stand for straight people using it in an ignorant way." [As if there can be an intelligent use of that and other such hateful epithets.]

Adam Joseph jumps right in and is quoted as saying the following:

"I refuse to give the word Faggot any type of negative connotation. I'm using it to empower or fem-power."

Even the interviewer used the term, "faggot artists," and they are discussing Jonny's upcoming release, "Keep it Faggity."

Even though the interviewer prefaces the interview with the caveat that some young people are really questioning the use of such derogatory terms, it must be acknowledged that not only are such derogatory terms bandied about with aplomb by both homophobes and many Gay people themselves, but their use is very influential in the formation of self-image and mind-set of many Gay and other youth who usually blindly come to believe in the acceptability of these derogatory terms as self-identifiers.

Why is this phenomenon so important? I've been asked that question many times, and my stock answer is that use of such words trivialize Gay identity; their use reinforces the stereotype of Gay people merely being sexual creatures and nothing more; their use is a manifestation of unconscious self-loathing; those who use such terms believe the big lies that by use of such terms the user is thereby "empowered," and their use also helps "reclaim" and "neutralize" terms that have never been renounced by the oppressors of LGBT people, so that Jonny can blindly state that "...the idea of faggotry [i]s a great thing and I became less afraid to use it as a term of empowerment for myself and my crew." However, he betrays his rationalization for use of that word by then saying, "Make no mistake, it’s like the N word. I don't stand for straight people using it in an ignorant way."

Well, what the hell does he think he's doing using that word? Does he think that his and other people's use of it and other such hateful words is not the height of ignorance? Is he that stupid or oblivious to the fact that such words heap further abuse and outsider status upon Gay people and their relationships, and help insure continued outsider status for all Gay people, regardless of whether or not they appreciate his music or not?

McGovern then says, "...Gogo hottie Jay Star's track 'This is How You Go-Go' is also a fave because its the masculine edge of faggity - it is sexy and real retarded. And of course 'This is NYC Bitch' which was the song that started the whole project and features my favorite queen, Kevin Aviance."

So, "bitch" is ok to use as well, as is "queen." This is the height of irony, given the fact that when Aviance was gay-bashed not too long ago, those cowardly attackers used some of those hateful words with every punch and kick that they delivered to Kevin, as those who gay-bash almost invariably do to all of their victims.

This irony is given a much finer point when Kevin stated right after the attack, "I thought they were going to kill me. I was thinking 'Is this the way I'm going to die?’

"Police call the assault a hate crime and say that four boys ages 16-20 are responsible for the attack. Police also say the boys were calling Aviance 'faggot.' Jarell Sears and Akino George, 20, Gregory Archie, 18 and Gerard Johnson, 16 are being charged with first-degree assult and hate crimes." ( See here.)

I'd like to know the rationalizations and twisted logic that can be used by those who call themselves by such hateful terms that the violent oppressors' terms can somehow be used as a source of pride? Or is it just for the money? If it is for the money, then these people are simply willful traitors to the acquisition of full and equal rights for LGBT people.

And for those who don't do it for the money, is it just plain stupidity? In which case, they are traitors who are oblivious to what they are doing in helping to retard the acquisition of full and equal civil rights!

Another reason why I strongly object to the use of such words is not only the betrayal of the struggle for full and equal civil rights for LGBT people, but the very use of such words is tantamount to fiddling while Rome burns. There is a struggle going on to obtain full and equal civil rights for LGBT people, and the users of these hateful epithets are delusional if they think that they are neutralizing, empowering, or reclaiming anything!

And if they feel empowered by using such epithets, and somehow feel psychologically better by using them, they also show a decided need for a healthy source of self-esteem, and they betray a lack of dignity and self-respect that are the essential ingredients for any meaningful participation in the struggle for such basic civil rights as marriage, rights of inheritance, and all other rights enjoyed by avowed heterosexuals.

And, to add insult to injury, in the above cited interview, it is stated, "Jonny 'The Gay Pimp' McGovern and Adam Joseph are leaders in a new crop of revolutionary gay artists." Revolutionary? Quite the contrary! They represent the very opposite of "revolutionaries," if we're talking about acquiring full equality for LGBT people. However, if we're talking about feathering one's own financial and/or psychological nest, there is nothing revolutionary about that, as those self-serving goals have been around since the dawn of human beings!

As expected, throughout the course of a day I read many so-called "progressive" LGBT blogs, and I don't that often hear the need for full and equal civil rights expressed, let alone what tactics and strategies are best to employ to achieve those rights. Rather, either venting about assorted homophobes, or taking delight in the exposed hypocrisy of some homophobic people, are relished and discussed at length.

And it is on such blogs that the hateful epithets are used with abandon, by people seemingly oblivious to their destructive implications and consequences, and without anyone seeming to care about those destructive implications and consequences for themselves and for other Gay people. And, when told about such destructive consequences, the outpouring of venom is of such a nature that it would be greatly desirable and refreshing if that animosity, that venom, were directed and expressed toward the homophobes who bear unspeakable ill will toward LGBT people and who actively work against Gay people's rights as citizens worthy of being treated with dignity and who deserve to enjoy full and equal civil rights.

During the civil rights fight for full and equal civil rights for African Americans, could you imagine such heroes in that fight as Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Thurgood Marshall, A. Philip Randolph, Medgar Evers, and Bayard Rustin referring to themselves and to other African Americans as "Niggers?" The very thought of it is unimaginable and obscene! Believe me, they didn't suffer, fight, and many sacrifice their very lives, so that future generations of African Americans could consider using racist epithets as self-identifiers.

In the struggle for African American rights there were always the sell-outs, the "Uncle Toms," those who loved the system as it was and didn't want to disrupt it, and even used the White Supremacists' language and mind-set in their view of both themselves and of the world, who would think nothing of informing on those African Americans who sought and demanded full equality. Malcolm X referred to these traitors as "House Negroes" and it would be a "mystification of experience" to deny that there are many Gay equivalents of "House Negroes" of the world (who all too often view and portray themselves as "progressives") who have wittingly or unwittingly sold out to their oppressor. And, unlike even many House Negroes, many of them think that by so doing they have become "liberated."

The Jonny McGoverns, Adam Josephs, Tristan Taorminos, and others who wittingly or unwittingly ignore or sabotage the cause of equal rights, and view the use of hateful epithets as indicators of "liberation" and "empowerment," serve to aid and abet the nefarious homophobic rhetoric, stereotyping, and homophobic work of the James Dobsons, Pat Robertsons, and Fred Phelps' of the world! Those "House Negroes" within the bosom of the Gay communities are helping them do their exclusionary and hateful work. By their having credibility among a lot of Gay people, they are also reinforcing and helping the religious and other homophobes to further inculcate "deviant" identity, and resignation to "outsider" status, among impressionable Gay youth!

The fight for equal rights for LGBT people must begin with the realization that people of dignity and who have feelings of self-worth, people who are psychologically intact and politically savvy, don't use hateful or disparaging words as self-identifiers that have been used, and are still being used, by gay-bashing oppressors! And it is only people who have feelings of self-worth, and who realize, and demand, that they must be treated with dignity and have the very same rights as anyone else, who will meaningfully participate in that fight.

To do otherwise is to consign LGBT people to a subcultural netherworld of "the outsider" and "the deviant," and is both counterproductive and traitorous to the fight for, and acquisition of, full and equal civil rights for all LGBT people!
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Sunday, July 27, 2008

AN EXCELLENT INTERVIEW WITH BISHOP GENE ROBINSON

“'I think the American compulsion to talk about everything openly is a great strength – and a weakness. We appear unnecessarily brash, but I love that about us. I feel called to be as open as I can be about my life so that young lesbians and gay men will understand that they can have wonderful relationships, be mothers and fathers and [achieve] real distinction for themselves in their careers.

“'Does anyone think that if I were hit by one of your marvellous double-decker buses this issue is going to go away? That’s what’s so remarkable about the Archbishop of Sudan’s statement this week that, if I resigned, the church would go back to being the way it was.'”

Click this link for the full interview.
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Friday, July 25, 2008

A SLICE OF HISTORY OF GAY EMANCIPATION

This is an interesting article that just appeared regarding a slice of Gay emancipation's history that I think you'll like.
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Thursday, July 24, 2008

SOON, DADT WILL BE A THING OF THE PAST

This article, in and of itself, demonstrates why Don't Ask, Don't Tell will soon become a thing of the past! The testimony of such people as Elaine Donnelly before a subcommittee of the House Armed Services Personnel Committee, will finally bring the hammer down on that ludicrous and cruel practice allowed by Pres. Bill Clinton for purposes of political expediency, which was typical of him and his Administration. Remember, he's the one under whose Administration Defense of Marriage Act was institutionalized, as he signed that Bill in 1996!

"Rep. Vic Snyder (D-Ark.) labeled her statement 'just bonkers' and 'dumb,' and he called her claims about an HIV menace 'inappropriate.' Said Snyder: 'By this analysis . . . we ought to recruit only lesbians for the military, because they have the lowest incidence of HIV in the country.'"

Check out Donnelly's testimony in her responses to the questions of Sen. Patrick Murphy:

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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

AN INTERVIEW WITH JAY BAKKER

This is an interesting video of an interview with Jay Bakker, the son of Jim and Tammy Bakker, who has a ministry to ALL of God's children, who is LGBT affirming, and who truthfully talks about the grace of God as he learned it from studying the Bible after he became disaffected with the institutional Church. It's well worth listening to.
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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

ARCHBISHOP ROWAN WILLIAMS IS SACRIFICING JUSTICE FOR UNITY, AND HE WILL HAVE NEITHER


"The Archbishop of Canterbury has continued his quest for Anglican unity with a strong statement against living in sin and gay sex.

"Dr Williams said: "I do not believe that sex outside marriage is as God purposes it."

"And he said he remained "committed" to the Church's official stance against gay sex, which aims to preserve Biblical norms."

[For the full article, see here.]

Harry Truman once said about a politician, "He tried to buy his enemies and took his friends for granted." Archbishop Rowan Williams has done just that!

He has thrown his humane and "liberal" instincts along with Gay people under the bus to preserve unity with those with whom unity is impossible! He seems to assume that those who are homophobic (in the name of the Bible, of course) are people of good will who just differ with his "liberalism," so he is apparently trying to mollify them by succumbing to their homophobic point of view by mouthing rhetoric that he has traditionally not mouthed before, to the best of my knowledge.

Williams is blatantly trying to buy off his enemies, and the enemies of justice for all of God's children, by sacrificing justice at the feet of unity! He, like virtually all of his "liberal" cohorts who at bottom are servants of political expediency, along with homophobic "traditionalists" fail to heed Cicero's injunction:

"Of all these things respecting which learned men dispute there is none more important than clearly to understand that we are born for justice, and that right is founded not in opinion but in nature."

If one wants to make the case against sex outside of marriage from reading the Bible texts, then he or she should be among the first to advance justice for Gay people by strong and vehement affirmation of same-sex marriage. However, we don't see Williams doing that!

Rather, he's undoubtedly trying to appeal for unity with those with whom unity is impossible for any Christian who sees unity as being one with those who love God and who do not commit the sin of idolatry by equating the Bible with God, and further compounding that sin by spewing hate and/or exclusionary rhetoric against God's Gay children.

To seek unity with such as these is a sin in and of itself! As the Apostle Paul wrote, "And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?" (2Corinthians 6:15)

Williams is trying to have unity with "unbelievers," those who elevate their own fallible interpretations of the Bible over and above God's clear call for justice; he seeks unity with those who would allow the Anglican communion to fracture because of the need for Gay people to have the same civil and sacramental rights as possessed by Straight people; he seeks to have unity with those who accept Gay people who live lives of quiet and not so quiet lives of desperation in the Anglican closet, and who serve in all aspects of that church (as they do in virtually all other churches throughout the world), but refuses to embrace those honest Gay people such as Bishop Gene Robinson who courageously chooses to live the authentic life that God ordained for him.

Why would any Christian want to have or maintain consort with those who would seek to deny any of God's children, and who show their disdain for God's Gay children (as, unsurprisingly, many of those same people do in regard to women regarding their ordination as Bishops in the Anglican communion) by rhetoric and/or actions that cause untold suffering to countless LGBT people?

All of us, Christian or not, are entitled to our views about a whole host of issues, and we all can have unity in spite of our differences! However, when it comes to the issue of the advocacy of exclusion regarding such groups as women and Gay people, or any other of God's non-predatory children, there can be no common ground that can or should be sought.

What seems to rule the day (at least for the present) with Archbishop Williams is political expediency's need to trump Christian love and Godly justice! Archbishop Williams, as has those with whom he seeks unity at the expense of love and justice, has shown what god he has currently chosen to worship.

One can only hold out hope that he will one day see the tragedy to which he has contributed, and that he lives long enough to offer the same kind of apology that he offered for the Church of England's advocacy of, and participation in, the slave trade.

At that time, in 2006, almost two centuries after the slave trade was abolished, due in large part to the tireless work of the courageous Christian, William Wilberforce, Rowan Williams said the following, which I hope he lives long enough to say regarding the institutionalized and grinding oppression of Gay people:

"The body of Christ is not just a body that exists at any one time, it exists across history and we therefore share the shame and the sinfulness of our predecessors and part of what we can do, with them and for them in the body of Christ, is prayer for acknowledgement of the failure that is part of us not just of some distant 'them'."

However, I sincerely doubt that Williams will have the chance he once had to go down in history as that courageous Christian, William Wilberforce, who serves as a role model for all who strive for justice in the name of God!
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Monday, July 21, 2008

A VERY IMPORTANT QUESTION IS POSED

A man by the name of Rudi Kohler wrote a brief letter to the editor of the "Salt Lake Tribune," in which he posed a crucial question, not only germane to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, but that must be asked of all professing Christians, denominations, and churches.

"If gay rights is a moral issue, why doesn't the LDS Church take a moral position on the killing in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the lack of health care for almost 50 million Americans, the inability of millions of Americans to earn a living income despite working 8-12 hours per day, or the presence of millions of retired Americans who worked all their lives and now subsist below the poverty level?

"Are these not moral issues, and arguably far more important than gay marriage?"

[See here.]

Rudi Kohler asks a crucial question that resonates well with all Christians, and other decent, sensitive people! (And we are to make no mistake, one can be a decent and sensitive person without being a Christian, but every single Christian is a decent, sensitive person or else he/she is not a Christian!)

Jesus puts such heretics as the legalists and perfectionists, who have tragically come to define "Christianity" in the minds of many, and who frequently rise to the highest levels of leadership positions in the institutional Church, in their place, and it must be remembered that He saved his harshest words for such as these: "Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel." (Matthew 23:24)

And, when it comes to Gay people and same-sex love, they are not only straining at a gnat, but are swallowing whole the camel of the false gospel that they tenaciously and stridently preach, and which largely attracts the one-dimensional, limited human beings who are not able to tolerate (let alone embrace) behaviors that are presumably different from theirs, people who are seemingly different from them (but actually are not), people who think differently from them, people who have ideas they don't share, and these professing "Christians" are those who are seemingly unable to tolerate the many gray areas and ambiguities of life that defines an intelligent, sensitive, decent, and truly Christian human being.

They betray themselves as the purveyors of a false gospel, and betray their claim to be following Jesus!

As I've long maintained, LGBT people are God's gift to His Church and to society, and they are the canaries in the mine shaft who are there to let the miners know if there is poison gas in that mine that will kill them.

As we see in regard to the LDS Church, and to most of the denominations in the institutional Church, God is separating the wheat from the tares (Matthew 13:30,38,40), the tares being those who talk the God-talk with aplomb, and who exude all the sanctimoniousness that they falsely think defines a "Christian," but are plainly seen to be the poison of all Christians who are Christians in fact, the members of Christ's Church, and who know that the Gospel is defined by Jesus Whose life, ministry, and work epitomized grace, faith, love, peace, reconciliation, and inclusiveness. Moreover, these tares, these "ravening wolves in sheep's clothing" (Matthew 7:15), are also poison to society as a whole!

And these purveyors of a false gospel, these one-dimensional legalists who "strain at a gnat and swallow a camel," who arrogantly presume to know the mind of God and seek to impose their own preconceived prejudices both onto the Bible as well as onto others, seeking to deny their demonically constructed "enemies" the same civil and sacramental rights that they enjoy, show themselves to be none of His, and that they are surely as poisonous to the Christian life and to Christ's Church as the Kool Aid that was drunk by Jim Jones' followers!

They have the temerity, the sheer arrogance, to commit the sin of idolatry by equating the Bible with God Himself, and by equating their own fallible, often false, interpretations of selected passages of Scripture based on their own prejudices, with what they falsely call "God's will," thereby elevating themselves, their prejudices, and their own fallible interpretations of selected texts of Scripture, above God Himself.

They also contravene Jesus' Great Commandments that Jesus says encapsulates "all the law and the prophets" (Matthew 22:36-40), and is to characterize and be manifested by all those who truly follow Him. Those two Great Commandments are to love God and to love and not judge others!

These pretentious and ravenous wolves in sheep's clothing, these purveyors of the false gospel of legalism and perfectionism, these who strain at a gnat and swallow a camel, these advocates of the exclusion of others in the name of God, pose a horrific and poisonous danger to all Christians, to Christ's Church, and to the struggle to have a truly civil society!

In no uncertain terms, Jesus condemns these ravenous wolves: "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness." (Matthew 23:27)
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Sunday, July 20, 2008

A MUST READ


My good friend, Don Charles, on his excellent blog, "Christ, The Gay Martyr,", has a new two-part post entitled, "Credo," that must be widely distributed and read by every Gay person and by every professing Christian! As is typical of his writings, it is provocative and absolutely brilliant!

Here is an excerpt from his two part post:

"I believe that organized religion owes LGBT folk around the world an official apology. The Pope and other religious leaders should apologize for all the suffering, savagery and discrimination we've had to endure as a direct result of their hatemongering theology; and after they do it, every one of them should fall down prostrate before God and beg His pardon for the capital sin of distorting His Holy Word. Do you think it's disrespectful for me to suggest such a thing? Then you don't understand the meaning of disrespect! Gay people understand its meaning. I understand. Whenever I think about the millions of families that have been torn apart; the millions of victims who've been brutalized and murdered; the scores of innocents who've been jailed and executed; the dozens of livelihoods and reputations that have been destroyed, and especially the countless number of human spirits that have been traumatized and broken, I feel the blood begin to boil within my veins. Reparations are definitely in order here! I would join a class action lawsuit in a heartbeat; wouldn't you?"

I strongly urge you to read his two-part post, "Credo."
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Friday, July 18, 2008

THIS IS GREAT NEWS

This is great news!

"A majority of California voters oppose a November ballot initiative that would amend the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage, according to a survey released Friday.

"The Field Poll found that 51 percent of likely voters say they would vote against Proposition 8, while 42 percent say they would vote for it.

"The poll shows a turnaround from 2000, when 61 percent of voters cast ballots in favor Proposition 22, which strengthened the state's 1978 one-man, one-woman marriage law with the words 'Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.'"

This percentage difference is significant and remarkable! However, if those figures hold or even improve in November, what must be emphasized is that the poll numbers, in and of themselves, are irrelevant if those who support same-sex marriage don't get out and vote, and encourage others of like mind to vote as well.

These percentages don't tell us, nor can they tell us, the true depth of feelings behind the attitudes they reflect; Sociologists have long known that "attitudes" aren't necessarily congruent with "behavior."

Hence, it's crucial to realize that those who are in favor of this amendment are "true believers," who are very likely to turn out on election day in droves, so it is also crucial for those who are against this amendment to go to the polls in droves and vote as well!

I'm concerned that those who favor the amendment might well be more passionate about their attitudes than those who are against it, and it can't be emphasized enough how important it is for those of us who are against this hateful amendment to put our attitudes into action at the ballot box.
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GOD BLESS THE PASTORS WHO TRULY FOLLOW JESUS

It is so refreshing to see that there are some courageous pastors in the United Methodist Church who are obeying the Gospel of grace and love, and the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives, ministries, and in society, who are performing same-sex marriages.

The motto of the United Methodist Church is: "Open hearts. Open minds. Open doors," and these men and women of faith are living up to that statement, unlike those legalists who are more wedded to their rules and regulations as contained in "The Book of Discipline" (as well as their likely unacknowledged prejudices against Gay people and same-sex love), that has largely become their "bible," rather than have a burden for justice for all of God's children.

"Scores of United Methodist Church ministers in California are putting their careers on the line in an open revolt against religious edicts that forbid them to conduct weddings for gay and lesbian couples.

"The pastors could lose their jobs and clerical credentials in the church, the nation's second-largest Protestant denomination.

"Ministers in Santa Monica, Claremont, Walnut Creek and other cities have already performed ceremonies for gays and lesbians or are planning to do so.

"In addition, 82 retired pastors in Northern California signed a resolution in June offering to perform such weddings on behalf of ministers who feel they can't do so themselves."

As one Methodist pastor stated: "I'm tired of being part of a church that lacks integrity," said the Rev. Janet Gollery McKeithen of Santa Monica's Church in Ocean Park, who plans to conduct weddings for two gay couples in August and September. "I love my church, and I don't want to leave it. But I can't be part of a church that is willing to portray a God that is so hateful. I would rather be forced out."

[For the full article, see here.]

God bless Rev. McKeithen and all of the other courageous pastors who choose to follow Jesus rather than man-made laws, rules, and regulations that both stifle the Spirit, and adhere to traditions that make void the Word of God. (Matthew 15:3)

God did not stop speaking when the last book of the Bible was written! God still speaks to us today, prompting us to love and not judge others, and to take very seriously, and live out, the words of the Prophet Micah: "He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8)

These pastors, and all Christians who are Christians in fact, live out the Gospel, and the demonic fallacies of legalism, perfectionism, and exclusion that have taken over most of the institutional Church have no place in anything that has to do with God or His Church!
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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A DESPICABLE POLICY BY THE CENSUS BUREAU TOWARD SAME-SEX MARRIAGE

I just read this article entitled, "2010 Census Won't Recognize Same-Sex Marriage Responses,"
and anyone with an ounce of self-respect would storm the barricades on this one.

Part of the article reads as follows:

"The U.S. Census Bureau will actively edit the responses of same-sex couples on the 2010 Census, classifying all legally married same-sex couples as 'unmarried partners.'"

“'We are just showing the data published in a way that is consistent with the way every other agency publishes their data,' Martin O’Connell, chief of the Census Bureau’s Fertility and Family Statistics Branch, told the San Jose Mercury News Sunday."

Their exclusionary hatred must be condemned! The more they rub our noses in their heterosexist hegemony over the social structure, the more the indignities heaped upon LGBT people should enrage increasing numbers of decent fair-minded people, and certainly same-sex married couples who will be increasingly incensed that their marriages are not viewed with dignity and respect by the government to which they, and we, pay taxes.

This dictate of the U.S. Census Bureau does the following:

1. It, in essence, views as invalid the existence of same-sex marriages that have been legally obtained in Massachusetts and California (unless the voters overturn the California State Supreme Court's decision in November, which I'm cautiously optimistic will not happen).

2. It invalidates the inherent dignity of same-sex love and same-sex marriage.

3. It shows its view that same-sex marriage is in some way inferior to heterosexual marriage and is, therefore, not to even be counted as legitimate, regardless of what any given state has declared to be legal.

4. It further alienates in the public's mind the very legitimate nature of same-sex love, hence helping to further create the "outsider" and "deviant" status of same-sex relationships and same-sex marriage.

5. It further consigns Gay people to a nether world of "inferiority," sanctioned and encouraged by the federal government.

6. It further "justifies" and foments a climate of hate against Gay people and their relationships by dismissing and discounting them, despite the fact that Gay people pay the taxes that help pay for those who stigmatize them and their relationships and, in the name of the citizens of the U.S., heap further discrimination upon Gay people.

In a sane world, a church that claims to represent Christ on earth would be in the vanguard of condemning this agent of the federal government's edict that accomplishes the above, further consigning God's LGBT children, and same-sex love, to an inferior status within a country that views itself as a democratic republic, "with freedom and justice for all."

However, most of the institutional Church either encourages, even leading the way toward such discounting of the legitimacy of Gay people and same-sex love or, just as cowardly, remains silent in the face of the grinding oppression of LGBT people by assorted "religious" and secular forces.

I have no doubt that those who worship their own interpretation of selected biblical passages rather than worship God' who, in fact, equate the Bible with God; who equate their own fallible interpretations borne of their own preconceived, often hateful, prejudices with what they sanctimoniously call "the will of God," will one day move on to choose another minority group to which they can again impose their false gospel of exclusion, once LGBT people are seen in secular society to be fully deserving of, and finally acquire, full and equal civil rights.

That was the institutional Church's modus operandi regarding the equality of women (save for certain "traditionalists," who still discriminate against women) and African Americans, so we should have no doubt that the institutional Church will again play the caboose in civil rights gains for LGBT people that will first be won in secular society, and only then, when full and equal civil rights are won in secular society, will most of the institutional Church jump on board the bandwagon. This scenario betrays not only the pathetic state of much of the institutional Church but also shows how far removed so much of it is from the will of God that demands of God that Jesus articulated as His mission in His first public pronouncement in His ministry:

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord." (Luke 4:18-19)

How dare the prejudiced haters and hate-mongers who act out their animus against LGBT people in the name of the Prince of Peace call themselves "Christians!" Most of the institutional Church is so far removed from Jesus' call to all who would be His disciples to follow Him and be agents of His grace and love in this world, that their explicit or tacit approval of discrimination against LGBT people and same-sex love puts the lie to their profession to be Christians!

If the institutional Church roundly condemned discrimination against LGBT people, I have no doubt that such an atrocity that is currently being perpetrated by the Census Bureau, as well as the atrocity of there being absolutely no federal civil rights protections for LGBT people and same-sex run families, would not only cease to exist but would not have likely come into existence in the first place.

However, most of what comprises the institutional Church has shown itself to obey Caesar rather than God; to dance with the devil of materialism; to align itself with some of the most reactionary forces of the state. Hence, there is no incentive for any part of the federal government, or for a great number of people, many of whom consider themselves to be "Christians," to abstain from hateful discrimination against LGBT people, or any other "enemy" de jour that they construct for their own materialistic, psychological and, all too often, hateful purposes.

I strongly encourage all people to email Lambda Legal to ask them to vigorously pursue legal challenges to the Census Bureau's decision regarding the counting of same-sex marriages, and to email the Human Rights Campaign and tell them to be far more aggressive than they have been in confronting such injustices as that perpetrated by the Census Bureau, as well as the rest of the federal government in its clear discrimination against LGBT people and same-sex love and marriage.
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Monday, July 14, 2008

ANOTHER HYPOCRITICAL HOMOPHOBIC HATER'S TORTURED PSYCHE EXPOSED

When someone (in this case, a man) is virulently homophobic and then is caught with his pants down (so to speak), with a man in his and his wife's bed, the hypocrisy is enormous, to say the least. What makes this story so important is not merely the hypocrisy that is evidenced, but the source of a great deal of the animus that lies behind homophobia itself.

Alabama's Republican Attorney General, Troy King, has stated, "Homosexuality is the downfall of society." Now, we read:

"King, considered a potential frontrunner for Alabama Governor in 2010, has been vocal in his condemnation of homosexuality and abortion. He has worked to outlaw sex toys and is a staunch supporter of the death penalty. King previously served as Assistant Attorney General and was appointed to Attorney General by Alabama Governor Bob Riley in 2004.

"As a law student at the University of Alabama, King wrote frequent editorials for The Crimson White in condemnation of gays, affirmative action and abortion. In his editorials for the student newspaper, King called homosexuality the ‘downfall of society’ and said AIDS could be cleansed from America if 'this nation’s current purveyors of perversion would refrain from committing sodomy.'”

[See the full article here.]

As I wrote in my April 16, 2008 post entitled, "Stereotyping, Human Diversity and Discrimination":

"'Reaction formation' is evidenced when someone who feels some level of homosexual desire unconsciously represses that desire by turning it into a hatred for all homosexuals; he/she often makes that hatred publicly obvious so as to 'fool' oneself and others into thinking and believing that he/she is not like 'those people,' when, in fact, he/she at some level knows that he/she is like 'those people.'"

"It's no accident that we have seen so many 'moral crusaders' shown up for their hypocrisy, after it is found out that the behavior (and people) they have been so vociferously condemning is manifest in their own lives."

Not all homophobes are Gay! Indeed, Troy King may not be Gay!

Being Gay is a sensibility, an affective (and consequently sexual) response to selected people of the same-sex exactly akin to the intensity and affective response to selected people of the opposite sex for Straight people.

One cannot separate the emotional from the sexual when talking of "sexual orientation," and it is the myth of the homophobes, and even many non-homophobes, that merely who one seeks an orgasm with is necessarily telling anyone what his/her sexual orientation is.

It may well be that Troy King, like so many other seemingly Gay homophobes, may actually believe that he is not really Gay and, in his mind, and even in fact, he might actually not be lying. The point is, however, not whether King is Gay or not, or not whether he is lying or not.

What is germane here is the fact that King shares with all homophobes (and White Supremacists, and all sorts of exclusionary haters) a very confused psyche that needs to exclude a group of "others" from full equality and conferring of dignity that one enjoys him/herself! People who hate or exclude others from full participation in civil and "religious" society show themselves to not be people of good will (which is an essential characteristic of a Christian, and any person who deserves the label of "decent" in civil society), and to have tortured, if not twisted, psyches, as we have all too often seen in the past, and when the hypocrisy of a Troy King comes to light.
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Saturday, July 12, 2008

AN EXCELLENT SERMON BY REV. NANCY WILSON, MODERATOR OF MCC

A Sermon by the Moderator
of Metropolitan Community Churches

The Rev. Nancy L. Wilson
MCC Moderator

MC
"Shaking The Foundations!"
by The Reverend Nancy L. Wilson

Delivered at The Fellowship's Annual Conference, Dallas, Texas, on June 25, 2008.

INTRODUCTORY NOTE FROM REV. WILSON:
I delivered this sermon at the opening service of the Annual Conference of The Fellowship in Dallas, Texas. We were blessed by so many musical guests, including the choir and orchestra of the Cathedral of Hope. MCCers were present from throughout the Dallas Metroplex, ushering and participating in the conference, along with clergy from across the U.S. Members of the MCC Board of Elders who were present were Rev. Darlene Garner, Rev. Lillie Brock and Rev. Jim Mitulski, and we were joined by Dr. Cindi Love. The United Church of Christ’s Coalition for LGBT Concerns was also meeting at the same time; MCC denominational leaders and the Coalition leaders met for dinner and fellowship together during the Conference. I was also invited to participate in the Fellowship's baptismal service, and MCC's Rev. Candy Holmes conducted the Mass Choir one evening. I invite you to read a more extensive report on the conference at the end of the sermon.

______________________
Scripture: Acts 16: 25-34

It is my joy and honor to be with brothers and sisters from The Fellowship and the UCC Coalition here in Dallas, Texas today. Thank you for your incredible hospitality.

Bishop Flunder, as you celebrate eight years, and as Metropolitan Community Churches prepares to celebrate our 40th anniversary in October of this year, isn't it amazing what God is doing?

Everywhere I go, there is a buzz about the relationship between The Fellowship and MCC. I talked to a news reporter earlier today who asked, "What is happening with MCC and the Fellowship?"

And the answer is, "We are on a journey together."

What you are doing, Fellowship, is so important -- as you confront homophobia in your cultural context, as you bring healing and hope to so many, especially to those from the African-American Pentecostal/Evangelical tradition. We are one with you and together we celebrate, as your conference theme declares, "One Table and One Tribe!"

It was in this very hotel, then under another name and different management, that I was ordained as MCC clergy in 1975. I knelt on the ballroom floor, trembling, as Troy Perry and other Elders laid hands on me at age 25. That day, 33 years ago, is as real to me right now as it was then, and I will never forget what making that passionate and solemn commitment has meant in my life.

So this is holy ground. And it is made more holy by you this week and by what we are doing together to change the world!

I love the book of Acts in the Bible; it tells of an "unhindered gospel." The 16th chapter begins with the Macedonian call, Paul's vision of being called to reach outside his comfort zone and beyond familiar territory. In this chapter, Paul and his ministry partner Silas meet Lydia, whom the Bible describes as a "seller of purple" and the female head of household. (Bishop Flunder and I can identify!)

On a high from the success of their mission, Paul and Silas are strolling through the market in the ancient city of Philippi, when a slave girl, described in Bible as "possessed by a spirit of divination," starts pursuing them and calling out to them -- she makes quite a public scene!

The Bible says that out of pure annoyance, Paul healed her. Only the Apostle Paul would heal someone out of sheer annoyance! But it's a reminder that God can use our unique personalities to accomplish great things.

So the slave girl was healed of whatever possessed her. But her good news wasn't good news to everyone. Suddenly, she was then no longer valuable as a possession, as a commodity. Her oppressors and abusers could no longer benefit from her; they could no longer capitalize on her suffering, which today we might call schizophrenia or some other psychiatric label.

Now, the story as told in the Bible leaves out some important details. As a healed slave who was now useless to her abusers, it's likely that she had no family to turn to and nowhere to go. I'd like to think that Paul and Silas sent her to Lydia's people; anyway, that's my fantasy.

Then there was Paul and Silas. Again, the good news they delivered to the slave girl wasn't good news to everyone. They had upset the system; they were considered to have broken the law. For this, they were beaten and thrown into jail, into the deepest recesses of a dungeon, and locked in chains.

And that's where today's scripture begins. The Bible says that at midnight, Paul and Silas were singing hymns. I know Jim Mitulski loves this part of the story. We are not told exactly what they were singing, but I am sure it wasn't, "Nobody knows the trouble I've seen, nobody knows but Jesus..."

No! I am sure they were singing loudly and joyfully. Maybe they sang, "I've Got a Feeling, Everything Is Gonna Be Alright!" They sang to comfort themselves and they sang to lift each other's spirits. I bet they laughed and cried, and sang their hearts out, all the while wondering how this turn of events had occurred and how God might use what was happening to them.

The Bible says the other prisoners were listening to them sing. I wonder if they thought Paul and Silas were crazy, or if they took comfort, too? I wonder if some of them might have joined in the singing? Now, the text doesn't say any more than that the other prisoners were listening, but just that sentence is enough to make me think: You never know! And you never know who is listening to you! What do people hear when you open your mouth?

I also think they were singing, because, frankly, no jail could hold them! No prison could chain their spirits; no jail could keep them from being entirely free in Jesus Christ. So they sang the songs of every Freedom Rider, the songs of hope and liberation.

And here our story takes another turn...

Suddenly there was an earthquake -- an earthquake so violent that it shook the foundations of the jail. Chains broke free. Doors flew open. I think in those circumstances, I might well have said, "Thanks, God, I'm outta here!"

But not Paul and Silas.

They simply waited. They waited in the silence, that still, eerie silence that follows an earthquake.

The jail keeper awoke with such dread and angst that he immediately took out his sword to kill himself. He feared his bosses so much, feared they would blame him for losing these prisoners. He, too, was trapped in a prison, a prison of his mind. He had so internalized his oppressors that killing himself seemed the only option.

And at that very moment, there's a shout, "Don't harm yourself, we are all here!" It was Paul, speaking with authority on behalf of all the prisoners.

That word became the transformative moment for the jailer. It was the Voice of God, announcing mercy, grace, love and solidarity. In that moment, they were One Community - jailers, Paul and Silas and all those nameless prisoners. The one who was the jailer discovered he was trapped in a prison of his mind. Those who had been trapped in prison found themselves free! Reversal upon reversal.

The jailer had encountered these two wild men of faith, who knew there was something more important than escaping from jail at that moment. Through Paul and Silas, the jailer had encountered Jesus.

The jailer fell on his knees, begging Paul and Silas to tell him what it is they have, because he wants it. He, who was not willing to risk being blamed for an earthquake, who was afraid of his own shadow, who felt worthless about his life, suddenly was risking everything! The Bible says he took Paul and Silas to his home, fed them and dressed their wounds! He listened to them; he witnessed their faith. And then he asked to be baptized, accepting that freedom for himself and his family.

Bishop Greenlee, could you have imagined yourself, 20 years ago, doing what you are doing today? Isn't freedom amazing? Jim Mitulski, Lillie Brock, Darlene Garner, Bishop Flunder, could you ever have imagined? What a gift freedom is, and what amazing doors it opens to God's love and mercy and grace!

So what do we find in this story that is for all of us, here, at the Fellowship's Annual Conference in 2008?

1. God Is Shaking The Foundations!

We are not here solely to create safe space for LGBT, queer, same-gender-loving people and our families and allies to worship, although that is still a great need, even in the US in 2008. It is about much more than that. We are here to shake the foundations of injustice, and to challenge systems and slavery -- economic, political, and spiritual slavery.

There is real slavery still going on, in alarming numbers, all over the world. People are sick and dying because of slavery in all of its forms -- to racism, sexism, and gender oppression, to drugs and substances that mask reality and deny us our full potential, to judgments directed at us by others and, worse still, the judgments we impose on ourselves -– all those things that numb our spirits and breed hopelessness.

And let me say this: Too many of our own people -- our own LGBT sisters and brothers -- are still in mental and spiritual slavery to notions of a God who oppresses, rather than liberates.

In Jamaica today, LGBT people are being killed and harassed. The legacy of colonialism has twisted race and sexuality into a lethal braid of homophobia. But our people are rising up for justice and hope, and we need to be with them! A recent poll showed that 70% of Jamaicans do not support gay rights and it's worth noting that this reflects progress! Three years ago, before there was an MCC in Jamaica and before the recent public campaigns, I'm sure it was greater than 90%.

Jamaica's Prime Minister, Bruce Golding, recently told the BBC that he would not appoint a gay person to his cabinet. Now, the truth is that he probably already has gay people in his cabinet and just doesn't know it; we really are everywhere.

Meanwhile, the reality is that no LGBT person in Jamaica cares if he wants to appoint someone gay to the cabinet -- they just want to stop being killed! They want police protection. They want civil and human rights.

Here in our own county, in the U.S., our government is engaged in an horrifically expensive (in human life, as well as in lost opportunities for peace and in fiscal costs), illegal war in which unprecedented war profiteering goes largely unchallenged. But God is shaking the foundations and God is inviting us -- The Fellowship, MCC, the United Church of Christ, and many, many others -- to resist and stand up for justice, peace and hope.

2. Interpret Your Earthquakes!

Now, I know something about earthquakes. I am familiar with earthquakes. I lived through the 1994 Northridge earthquake, in which MCC Los Angeles' building was destroyed, one of 80 such buildings in Los Angeles County.

Now, no Baptist or Methodist or Catholic whose church was damaged or destroyed wondered if God did this to punish them. But you can be sure some folks at MCC were talking about it. Homophobia, including internalized homophobia, sometimes runs deep, doesn't it?

So, I preached against the homophobia, saying no way did God send the Northridge earthquake just to tear down our building!

But I must confess, I held this deep, dark secret: Two nights before the earthquake, while hosting a church growth conference, I had struggled and prayed about the fact that our newly renovated church building was too small and the foyer was too narrow. And I wondered how many years it would take for me to convince the congregation to sell and move closer to West Hollywood, or somewhere a little closer to the LGBT community.

Then two days later, rather unexpectedly, I no longer had that worry.

I didn't tell anyone about that prayer and conversation with God for years, actually, for two full years, until we were moving into our new church complex in West Hollywood -- that's when I decided to revise my theology! Maybe God did tear our building down after all, not as a curse, but for blessing, so we could partner with MCC globally and invest in that property together!

You have to rightly discern those earthquakes! Understand your grief, losses and challenges. Let God help you understand the Divine Wisdom at work in even your most painful and difficult circumstances.

The Holy Spirit would not let Paul and Silas interpret that earthquake as a "Get Out of Jail Free" card! No, God's greater purpose was the life of the jailer, and his extended family, and his circle of influence. God's greater purpose was Jesus' love and mercy, and it was God's amazing grace and liberating power!

Paul and Silas waited in the stillness to hear the Voice of God interpret that earthquake for them, and we can, we must, do the same.

3. Free The Jailer, Too

When Nelson Mandela became President of South Africa in that stunning non-violent revolution that ended apartheid, he hosted a special inaugural luncheon to which he invited his white jailers from Robben Island, where he had been confined as a political prisoner from 1964 to 1982. In that gesture, he painted a picture of a new South Africa, of a higher calling and standard. He embodied that special grace and forgiveness that can free the oppressor, and in his case, those low-on-the-power-grid oppressors who are themselves so oppressed and afraid.

I met John (not his real name) in New York in 1981. MCC had just sent our application letter for membership in the National Council of Churches, and John had told us, through the New York Times, not to bother.

But a couple of months later we were meeting him and the membership committee of the NCC in New York. And two hours into our meeting, John broke down and apologized, saying he was so stunned about MCC's ministry, and he had had no idea, etc., etc.

And the membership committee unanimously voted that MCC was eligible for membership within the National Council of Churches.

Two years later, the members of the Council would reject their own decision and indefinitely postpone any vote on our membership. John was heartbroken, deeply disappointed with the Church. That night he knocked on my door and cried; he was so angry and so hurt by the Council's treatment of MCC. At the same time, he was also going through the pain of a divorce, and he had just been let go from his job, because, he was told, he had lost his objectivity about the MCC application.

Fast forward five years. I was at a National Council of Churches' meeting celebrating Church World Service -- and there was John, beaming! He rushed up to me, said he had left New York and had gone half way around the world to Bangladesh to find himself and his vocation. And during his journey he had found himself again, he rediscovered his calling -- and he had also met the love of his life, Mary; he introduced me to her there, on the spot. Then he said to me, "All of this is MCC's fault!" We have to free the jailers!

Here is the how Acts concludes the story: The next morning the authorities come to the jailer's house; they tell him he can quietly release Paul and Silas. But they didn't go quietly. They informed them that they were Roman citizens and had been treated unfairly -- so they were provided a special escort and were thrown out of town in the nicest sort of way!

And here are the lessons for us:

We must be willing to risk it all to shake the foundations and to reinterpret our earthquakes in the light of God's purposes.

And while we are at it, we must also free the jailers.

May God bless the Fellowship in your conference this week. May you be everything God has intended you to be in the Church and in our world, for all who need you.

And may we be One Tribe and sit at One Table, in Jesus' name.

Amen.

________________________
Sermon Delivered By:

The Reverend Nancy L. Wilson
Moderator
Metropolitan Community Churches
www.MCCchurch.org
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Thursday, July 10, 2008

MCCAIN HAS A GOOD CHANCE OF BECOMING PRESIDENT

This article, "The Ugly Phase Begins," by Wayne Besen is, unfortunately, right on the money when it comes to the pandering to the "Religious" Right by John McCain and his handlers. They know they need the support of those who profit from the status quo and those who believe in the politics and false gospel of exclusion in order to help them win the Presidential election.

As in the last Presidential election, the demonizing of Gay people served the Republicans quite well, as that one issue likely helped mobilize homophobic churches (and there are a whole lot of them) to get their congregations to "vote the way God would want you to vote," even with some of them bussing their members to the voting booths. And a good deal of the institutional Church is comprised of homophobic churches which, to one degree or another, still make their theology of genital placement quite clear to their congregations.

However, what is even worse than the cynical machinations of the McCain campaign of which Besen writes, is the predictable move to the "Right" that has been evidenced by Obama this past week. This article, "Obama’s swing to right sparks warnings from 'left' backers," by Bill Van Auken highlights Obama's shift to the Right, in order to pander to the "ruling elite."

He concludes his article by writing:

"If the candidate [Obama] is more openly promoting his right-wing agenda now, it is not in interests of gaining votes. Over two-thirds of the American people want an end to the war and the overwhelming majority is hostile to the Bush administration; he does not have to appeal to some vast right-wing constituency. On the contrary, Obama is making his pitch to the ruling elite, attempting to cast himself as “presidential,” i.e., someone who is prepared to do whatever it takes to defend the interests of American capitalism, both at home and abroad."

This article's conclusion is not mere hyperbole that merely serves a Socialist agenda. Rather, it highlights the reality of what we may see as the Social Darwinism that has fueled the very strong capitalistic, fundamentalist and exclusionary strains that runs through the American psyche, and a psyche that is held by most of the "ruling elite," the Power Elite, of which I wrote in the previous post.

Both McCain and Obama know that they must, each in their own way, pay homage to both this Power Elite as well as the psyche of Social Darwinism that extols as virtues free enterprise, rugged individualism, competition, conflict, and the survival of the fittest. The unfortunate fact of American life is that these traits not only characterize the Power Elite, the "ruling elite" to use Van Auken's term, but also characterizes most of the American people, even many for whom these values are directly responsible for their own angst and recognized dwindling life-chances.

The irony of this scenario is that there is now highlighted a basic conflict between the disenchantment of most of the American people with the current economic and political climate in America with their Social Darwinist values, and both candidates are appealing to those Social Darwinist values as, consciously or not, they regard these latter values as trumping the public's perceptions of their dwindling life-chances under the status quo. And they expect that the disenchantment that most of the public feels will be trumped by those Social Darwinist values, and they both may well be correct in this assumption, an assumption that is seemingly ignored by Van Auken's article.

The upshot of all of this pandering to the "Right," be it "religious," or corporate, or political, is that many "conservatives" will be mobilized and organized to go to the polls and vote for their own perceived interests in the person of McCain. And many "liberals" will not be able to bring themselves to vote for McCain or for Obama, whom they will see as a sell out and, therefore, they are likely to abstain from voting. And the "undecideds" will more than likely vote for McCain as he more directly (and has consistently) and honestly reflects the very strong Social Darwinist ethic that will likely appeal to them more than does the recent shift to the Right of Obama. Moreover, there seems to be a significant number of Hillary Clinton supporters who will abstain from voting, given their antipathy toward Obama.

By McCain moving even further to the Right, and Obama shifting to the Right, and thus taking the wind out of the sails of a lot of young people, and others, who believed in his candidacy based on "change," the odds at this point of McCain winning the election is exponentially increased, and it may be again seen that that increase is in large part accomplished on the backs of LGBT people whom secular and "religious" fundamentalists, and those who feel the need for scapegoats to "explain" their own angst and poor life-chances, love to hate.

And of course, the perceived need for scapegoats segues into the issue of "race" that, when all is said and done, is the elephant in the room, and that may play the biggest, albeit formally unacknowledged and disavowed, role in a possible McCain win in November! And neither entrance nor exit voter polls are likely to ascertain that likelihood! And Obama's shift to the Right makes such a race-based voter public disavowal seem even that much more credible, albeit fallacious in my opinion.

Again, we may be seeing both the fact that racism (and misogyny) and homophobia are inextricably linked, and the commonality between African Americans and LGBT people in regard to their being victims of both discrimination and scapegoating for the ultimate profit of the Power Elite, aided and abetted by its "religious" and secular allies who drink the Kool Aid of the mantra of Social Darwinism from which, ironically, many, if not most, certainly do not profit!

Given all of these factors, it is my opinion that, as of this time, I think that McCain will win the Presidential election!
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Monday, July 7, 2008

IT'S NOT ABOUT ISSUES; IT'S ABOUT THE REACTIONARY MIND-SET OF THE POWER ELITE AND ITS ALLIES!

Hostility toward LGBT people has less to do with such issues as same-sex marriage and full and equal rights than it does with a Reactionary mind-set shared by those who have a tenacious adherence to the status quo, as long it they perceive that it profits them. These people are either members of, or allies with, the Power Elite!

The Power Elite is comprised of the people who who have a vested interest in the status quo which they control and from which they mightily profit. Moreover, its members, in order to maintain that control, use assorted dupes and those who want to share in that power, even vicariously, in order to support it and its interests, and such dupes and allies include most of the institutional Church and its members, and all others who buy into the self-serving ideology that this Elite purveys through the media which it controls, and through the credibility that it enjoys in society.

The Power Elite possesses a reactionary mind-set as that mind-set serves its own best economic, political, and material interests. However, what is especially ironic and pathetic is that it uses those who lack critical thinking skills to serve its self-interests, making them think that it is their own interests that are being served. Moreover, most of the institutional Church, by the very fact that it is comprised of bureaucracies, attract and promote into leadership positions those who possess this reactionary-mind set!

So, we have professing Christians all too often enmeshing what they consider to be "Christianity" with the militarism, capitalism, Americanism, and jingoism that serve the Power Elite well, and they fuse what is frequently called "evangelical Christianity" with the very interests of the Power Elite, in direct contradiction to the teachings of Jesus!

And this surreal phenomenon is considered and touted by them to be the hallmark of "traditional," "conservative," "evangelical Christianity!"

And the Power Elite also has as a useful tactic the pitting of one minority group against another, having them cannibalize each other, thereby deflecting attention from its self-serving machinations, and having what is called "conservative Christianity" as providing the supposed biblical and moral justifications for the oppression of the minority group de jour.

In addition, we have the irrational and surreal phenomenon where we have people aligning themselves with the Power Elite by directly working against their own interests, so that we see the spectacle of some African American clergy willing to align themselves with the KKK to oppose same-sex marriage, as seen by Rev. Gregory Daniels who is quoted as having said, "If the KKK opposes gay marriage, I would ride with them."

The reactionary mind-set of the Power Elite has even infiltrated many other African American clergy and their gullible followers who should certainly know better, so that they perversely use the very same rhetoric, justifications for, and advocacy of, discrimination against LGBT people and their acquisition of full and equal civil rights that were once used against African Americans by the allies and members of the Power Elite, and they are now willfully blind to the fact that it was those "activist judges," "liberals," and courageous people, Black and White, which and whom they now roundly condemn, that made possible the end of slavery and segregation.

We also have the spectacle of Gay people who are against same-sex marriage, such as a David Benkof, or who align themselves with those who actively discriminate against them, such as Gay people who attend and support homophobic churches and their clergy, and/or who otherwise support and align themselves with their avowed political enemies, as I dealt with in the article, "The Pathology of the Gay Conservative".

The Power Elite is well able to manipulate the all too frequent shame and self-loathing among Gay people, the shame and self-loathing that they and their reactionary "religious" allies have all too successfully created, fomented, and perpetuated, just as it did among the African Americans during the times of Slavery, and later on, Segregation, of which Malcolm X so brilliantly spoke, most notably in his speech distinguishing between "the House Negro" and "the Field Negro".

The same mind-set that has hostility toward LGBT people and their acquisition of full and equal civil and sacramental rights is the mind-set that used what the "religious" reactionary White Supremacists saw in the Bible, and who then selectively used certain verses (usually without understanding the original Greek or the likely context about which those verses were written), in justifying and expressing their savagery against African Americans both during the institutionalization of Slavery in the U.S., and in the relatively recent past during the era of Segregation and Jim Crow laws.

The same hatred shown toward African Americans in the justification of White Supremacy is the exact same hatred shown toward LGBT people and the justification of heterosexism! Some of the manifestations of that hatred are, of course, different, but the hatred and the justifications for that hatred are exactly the same!

No better most recent examples can be shown to highlight the machinations of the Power Elite by "religious" reactionaries than are contained in these two articles: See here and here.

In the first article, it shows how "evangelical Christians" (I put the term "evangelical" in quotation marks because that term has, unfortunately, been perverted.) are starting to organize and mobilize to support McCain for President. Clearly, they didn't like him in the beginning of the campaign but, when the rubber hits the road, they are going to support him, and they are now providing to themselves as well as to others their justifications in so doing.

"'Our shared conservative evangelical values and our concern about judicial activism compelled us to unite around the presidential candidate who most closely aligns with us,' [Matthew] Staver [President of Liberty Council] said. 'That candidate is obviously Sen. John McCain. United we will move forward to advance our values in the short- and long-term. We are committed to a transgenerational, multiethnic and multiracial conservative movement.'

"The report said some of the Christian leaders were irked by the fact 'Obama has reached out to evangelical leaders more than McCain.' But it confirmed others expressed support for McCain, 'because an Obama presidency would mean passage of highly liberal policies that would probably allow "same-sex marriage," severely hurt religious freedom and ensure the appointment of only judges who would keep abortion on demand as the law of the land.'

"'Rick Scarborough, founder and president of Vision America, predicted that laws would be passed that would essentially criminalize basic Christian beliefs,' Strang's report said."

By portraying Christianity as being under attack, they are using the same rationale and tactics as was used by White Supremacists in creating an "enemy" so that they could portray themselves as victims of a grave threat that only by electing someone who had a mind-set like theirs, regardless of religious or spiritual commitment, could help remedy. Such a portrayal not only garners increased revenue for religious reactionaries, the handmaidens of the Power Elite, but helps enable them to ensure the status quo that they perceive will keep them in control and help keep the minority group(s) they despise under their thumb, so as to maintain their influence and control of most of the institutional Church, maintain what they tout as the moral high ground, and maintain their definition of "Christianity" in the public's mind.

Flagrant disregard of life and limb lost in an unjust and immoral war doesn't seem to bother these public advocates for the rights of the unborn! The irony of their seeming to care for pre-born babies doesn't seem to carry over to their caring for the countless thousands who have already been killed and maimed in the Iraq war, and the many yet likely to be killed and maimed if John McCain becomes President.

What is important to them is to maintain their mind-set of exclusion of "the other," their constructed enemy, be that "other" African Americans, women, LGBT people, or whatever enemy they seek to construct so as to maintain both their hegemony in society, and to help assure that the existing social structure continues to favor them and their ideology, an ideology that has relatively little to do with their "Christian" profession, and certainly nothing to do with Christianity itself!

The contradiction of their professed "Christianity" with their politics has been seen throughout history, so it should come as no surprise that in the second article we read:

"...[The Anglican] the Church refused to comment on a Telegraph report that senior bishops had held secret talks with Vatican officials to discuss the crisis over gays and women bishops.

"The Telegraph has learnt that they met senior advisers of the Pope in an attempt to build closer ties with the Roman Catholic Church.

"Dr [Rowan] Williams [Archbishop of Canterbury] was not told of the talks and the disclosure will be a fresh blow to his efforts to prevent a major split in the Church of England.

"The Church of England refused to confirm or deny the report, describing it as one of a 'plethora' of stories appearing in advance of a General Synod vote on Monday, which will determine whether women will be allowed to become bishops without giving concessions to staunch opponents.

"Up to 600 clergy have given warning in a letter to Dr Williams that they may leave the Church unless they receive a legal right to havens within the Church free of women bishops."

So the hostility "traditional" clergy in the Church of England have toward LGBT rights, such as the ordination of Gay people and same-sex marriage, is seamlessly related to their hostility toward women becoming Bishops, thereby reinforcing the basic misogyny behind much of the homophobia that exists.

The issues aren't women and Gays, per se but, rather, the desire for control within the social structure(s) in which those with the reactionary mind-set find themselves!

We all want some degree of control over our lives, and we want our ideas to be taken seriously by others. However, there is a reactionary mind-set that requires those who possess it to have control over other people, and who thereby seek to impose their self-serving and naked self-interests on the rest of society and/or their denomination, even at the expense and contradiction of their profession of being "Christians" who trust in God, or any other laudable ideology that they profess.

So, just as "evangelicals" largely getting behind McCain for President, self-styled "conservative" Bishops and clergy in the Anglican communion are seeking possible alignment with the Roman Catholic Church, a Church from which their forebears largely dissociated. It is not unlikely that the self-styled "traditionalists" or "conservatives" will now seek some way of affiliating with an organization quite well-known for its comfort with, and institutionalization of, the reactionary mind-set.

Rather than call themselves "Reactionaries" or worse, they call themselves "evangelicals" or even "Christians," all the while not seeing the basic contradiction between their love of power and their professed love of God!

They can condone, or turn a blind eye to, the torture and killing of others, all the while portraying themselves as "the victims" of those [whom they derisively call "liberals"] who seek to stop that torturing and killing; they seek to take the high ground in public discourse, all the while seeking to deprive others of the full and equal civil and sacramental rights that they, themselves, enjoy; they state that they are "traditional Christians," all the while seeking power within their Church and/or society, and not trusting God and the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of that Church and in that society; in the name of "Christianity" they perversely bow down to Caesar and aid him in maintaining a status quo from which he mightily benefits!

We must finally come to realize that the enemy we are fighting, the enemy that oppresses us does so, not especially because we are women, Black, Italian, Jewish, Mexican, poor, immigrants, or Gay but, rather, that "oppression" is what that enemy, the possessor of that reactionary mind-set, routinely does, and has historically done, to gain and maintain power within society and/or the institutional Church!

Once we understand this phenomenon and how we all have a personal stake in the acquisition of equal rights for members of each and every non-predatory minority group, it will be at that point that all of us who are members of minority groups (and that's most of us in the U.S.) will see our commonality with each other and begin to work together in the fight against our common enemy: the Power Elite (and its allies), comprised of those who possess the Reactionary mind-set and who ferociously seek to maintain their control over others at any cost in order to keep their privileged positions!
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Saturday, July 5, 2008

ON PROFESSING "CHRISTIAN" THUGS

To continue the theme of the last post, the article by Miguel De La Torre entitled,"James Dobson Preaches A False Gospel," hits the nail on the head! [Thanks to Straight, Not Narrow.]

Please read his full article, but here is an excerpt from it:

For the past eight years, James Dobson's brand of Christianity has been normative in the land. Dobson has preached a Christ acceptable to the present Bush administration. When George W. Bush and company get down on their knees, they pray to the same Christ to whom Dobson turns for guidance in making moral decisions.

Not surprisingly, Dobson has never--to the best of my knowledge--criticized Bush's policies, legislation or actions as being unchristian. And why should he? For both share a brotherhood in worshiping the same Christ.

This is a Christ who has remained silent in the face of human-right violations, atrocities and institutional violence. The Christ whom Dobson and Bush believe in is a Christ that has nothing to say about water boarding; torture of prisoners in United States; care or transporting them to nations for more extensive torture; bearing false witness to start a war; Christians dying in the desert, because they happen to be undocumented immigrants; or the poor, who since 2000 has gotten poorer.


As I wrote before, any Christian who subscribes to the false gospel of legalism, perfectionism, exclusion, jingoism, capitalism run amok, and militarism is not fit to be called a Christian, regardless of what he/she calls him/herself!

Moreover, any Christian who keeps silent when others are oppressed, especially when they are oppressed by those who perversely state that they align themselves with Christ, is just as culpable in that oppression as are the most virulent demagogues or their cowardly sympathizers who have infiltrated most of the institutional Church, and who have perversely taken on the mantle of leadership to the degree that they have a virtual monopoly on media exposure and undeserved credibility in claiming to speak for "Christianity."

To in any way show deference to these wolves in sheep's clothing, or to allow them to spew their perversions without their being confronted for the demonic influences they have showered upon both most of the institutional Church and on secular society as well, is to partake in their evil!

When it comes to those who espouse or condone hate and the oppression of others, and thereby do inestimable harm to countless numbers of people, there is no choice that any Christian can make than to expose and confront them and their perversions of the Gospel, as well as highlight and condemn the inordinate damage they do, and have done, to the cause of Christ!

Hear the Apostle Paul: "But though we or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. As we said before, so I say now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed." (Galatians 1:8-9)

To be "accursed" means to be damned by God!

So, what the Apostle Paul is writing is that if anyone espouses any other Gospel than that of grace, faith, love, peace, reconciliation, and inclusiveness, "God damn him!"

Amen!
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Thursday, July 3, 2008

DECEIT AND BETRAYAL IN LOW PLACES

This item concerning the so-called "Christian News Service," seemingly owned by the American Family Association (What else would they call themselves?), highlights both the depth of the small-minded and visceral hate that lies behind "religious"and other purported "justifications" of homophobia, despite all the sanctimonious rhetoric to the contrary; the frivolous, fallacious, and dangerous use of the designation, "Christian," by people who seek to exclude others from full participation in the civil rights that they, themselves, enjoy, and the fact that we should not waste our time seeking to "reason" with such small-minded people who would engage in such tactics as described in the article linked below but, rather, expose them.

Check out this article.

Small minded professing Christian homophobes also deceitfully distort legitimate research in order to "justify" their exclusionary rhetoric (which often handsomely pays off for them), as seen by the following two videos that deal with Dr. James Dobson:

Dr. Judith Stacy


Dr. Carol Gilligan


This is the text of the letter Dr. Gilligan wrote to Dr. Dobson:

Dear Dr. Dobson:

I am writing to ask that you cease and desist from quoting my research in the future. I was mortified to learn that you had distorted my work this week in a guest column you wrote in Time Magazine. Not only did you take my research out of context, you did so without my knowledge to support discriminatory goals that I do not agree with. What you wrote was not truthful and I ask that you refrain from ever quoting me again and that you apologize for twisting my work.

From what I understand, this is not the first time you have manipulated research in pursuit of your goals. This practice is not in the best interest of scientific inquiry, nor does bearing false witness serve your purpose of furthering morality and strengthening the family.

Finally, there is nothing in my research that would lead you to draw the stated conclusions you did in the Time article. My work in no way suggests same-gender families are harmful to children or can’t raise these children to be as healthy and well adjusted as those brought up in traditional households.

I trust that this will be the last time my work is cited by Focus on the Family.

Sincerely,

Carol Gilligan, PhD
New York University, Professor


When homophobes exist, let alone when they portray themselves as "Christians," and also engage in mean spirited tactics, even tactics that distort legitimate research, all in the service of promulgating a false gospel of legalism and exclusion, they deceive and betray anyone, anything, and everything that has to do with the Gospel of Christ and the love of God!

And any Christian worthy of the name will both shun and condemn their besmirching of both the truth, Christians, the Gospel, and the very name of Christ!

In this connection, I'm reminded of the admonition of the Apostle Paul to all Christians: "Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils; ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils." (1Corinthians 10:21)
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Wednesday, July 2, 2008

A PUBLIC STATEMENT BY MCC ABOUT THE LIKELY ORDINATION OF LGBT PEOPLE IN THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH

On The Occasion of the Vote by the
General Conference of the Presbyterian Church (USA)
to Overturn the Ban on the Ordination of Lesbians and Gay Men

June 30, 2008

STATEMENT:

On behalf of the friends and members of Metropolitan Community Churches, we welcome the decision of the national governing body of the Presbyterian Church (USA) to overturn the long-standing ban on the ordination of lesbians and gay men.

The decision by the General Assembly is a positive step forward for the many lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgender (LGBT) persons who are called by God to serve as ordained clergy within the Presbyterian Church (USA) -- and will also bless the larger Church by opening new places of service to the ministry and giftedness of LGBT people.

To become church policy, this decision must be approved over the next year by a majority of the 173 regional presbyteries in the U.S. The friends and members of Metropolitan Community Churches pledge our faithful prayers for the final adoption of this policy throughout the upcoming ratification process.

We encourage our brothers and sisters in each presbytery, like the midwives of Egypt, to feel the call of life more strongly than anything else, and to unite both in ratifying this historic vote and standing for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality before God.

Many LGBT organizations and persons have devoted their lives to the pursuit of equality. Today, we honor those organizations, including That All May Freely Serve, Covenant Network of Presbyterians, and More Light Presbyterians, that have worked so long to make this day possible. We salute the many individuals whose lives have served as powerful witnesses to God's calling and grace upon lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender persons. In doing so, we acknowledge our friends and colleagues who worked for this day but did not live to see it, and those who have given their entire professional lives to achieve this level of inclusion. We are grateful for their vision and faithfulness.

Please join me in prayers that this action by the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) will serve as witness to the radically inclusive gospel of Jesus Christ and that it might inspire each of us to renew our commitment to spiritual justice for all God's people.

Grace and peace,

+Nancy

The Reverend Nancy L. Wilson
Moderator
Metropolitan Community Churches
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Tuesday, July 1, 2008

THE NEED FOR DIGNITY AND SELF-RESPECT BY GAY PEOPLE AND EVERYONE ELSE

This is one of the saddest articles I've read in a long time.

Two of the statements contained in this article are the following, made by twenty four year old, David Nielson, who is discussing his hopes for a meeting of "Affirmation," a group of at least 2,000 LGBT people, with the President of the LDS Church:

"This meeting is past-due. ... but if we want them to cease persecuting us ... then we have to come to them and show them that we are as God intended." "I have to generate my own welcomeness," he admitted.

"If I didn't know this is the true church, I would have left a long time ago."

I learned a long time ago that you can't save people from themselves! No amount of logic or rational discourse is going to convince someone to change what "we perceive" to be destructive habits and behaviors. As irrational as someone's behavior may seem to us, on some deep level continuing in that behavior meets certain needs that that person, until further notice, is not willing to give up.

David's last statement shows that he has bought into the fallacy that he belongs to "the true church," which would be just as fallacious if a Methodist, a Presbyterian, an Episcopalian, or any other person affiliated with any denomination said the same thing. In fact, without belaboring the point, the LDS Church is diametrically opposed to many doctrines held by Orthodox Christianity since the era of the early Church fathers, not the least of which are its views of God having once been a man, and their rejection of monotheism.

However, I want to concentrate on the first statement that David is quoted as having said. "...if we want them to cease persecuting us...then we have to come to them and show them that we are as God intended." Now, how is anyone going to accomplish that task? Moreover, why would an oppressed person want to be accepted by his or her oppressor in the first place? Why would the oppressed seek to remain in the arms and in the control of his oppressor? Only a prisoner would accept the oppression visited upon him or her by his or her captor!

The article states, "There are so many aspects of the church that he loves—the music, emphasis on education, a chance to serve and share one's talents with others—that he accepts the discomfort."

When the David's of the LDS Church, just like the other David's residing in most all congregations of the institutional Church, say they are remaining in these oppressive, discriminatory institutions, because they seemingly love the music, and who provide all kinds of other rationalizations for remaining in the arms of their oppressor, and remaining in the demeaning capacity of a supplicant worshipping at the feet of a sadist, we are not necessarily to believe them.

Anyone with a sense of dignity and self-worth will flee anyone or any religious institution that doesn't respect his or her humanity, and doesn't afford him or her full equality with others in that religious institution! To do otherwise is a pathetic display of masochism that can only serve to further repress and alienate that person, further drive that person to even greater depths of despair and disappointment, all the while conferring credibility on that oppressor who, in turn, therefore views him/her/itself free to maintain that culture of oppression that is also visited upon others.

To believe that one can make changes from within such repressive institutions, and feel that "if we want them to cease persecuting us...then we have to come to them and show them that we are as God intended," bespeaks a mind set that is ripe for further indoctrination into shame and self-loathing that is bound to increasingly harm one's mental and even physical health; confers credibility and legitimacy on that oppressor that is certainly not deserved.

Since when does the oppressed have to justify his or her existence by seeking the approval from his or her oppressor? This mind-set is not at all unlike the abused spouse thinking that if he or she was only "nicer" or "more agreeable," or "a better person," her or his abuser will stop abusing them.

Doesn't it ever occur to people like David that when a person or institution abuses you, they abuse you because they are abusive, and there is absolutely nothing you can do to stop that abuse? All of your pathetic excuses for seeking to appease your oppressor merely serve to put you into a position of vulnerability to further oppression and self-condemnation and self-abnegation.

The only thing that will stop that abuse is the threat to stop the flow of money coming into that institution's coffers and/or the threat to remove its legal status in secular society! Notice two such instances in regard to the LDS Church: the seeming change of its stand on polygamy; its allowing in 1978 African Americans to become priests within its organization.

What was deemed "a new revelation from God" was coincidental with civil rights and civil liberties bestowed on African Americans in civil society, as its formal forfeit of polygamy was contingent on the veritable threat of its losing its right to exist in the U.S. Only a very naive person would think that "sweet reason" or the appeal to "the milk of human kindness" of one's oppressor will have that oppressor forfeit that power over people who are gullible and/or masochistic enough to keep enduring such abuse; sadistic enough to allow such abuse of others to go unchallenged and uncondemned.

Emotionally healthy people will flee oppressive relationships and institutions, and won't even bother to look back! To do otherwise further damages the person; seeks to create a dialogue where there is no level playing field; bespeaks such low self-esteem that further exposes the person to increased vulnerability to persecution; forfeits the opportunity of that person to have healthy relationships that are pursued with dignity and with an inherent sense of self-worth.

No one deserves to be treated with a lack of respect! No one should put him/herself in a position of supplication to an abuser! No one should be naive enough to believe that any one institution comprises "the true Church." Any institution that makes such a claim has already forfeited its right to make that claim!

God is far greater than any institution! Perhaps when the David's of the world come to recognize this fact, they will flee oppressive institutions and find that no one is to be his or her Judge but God!

And it is not at all honoring to God to remain in a relationship or institution that requires a person to renounce his or her God-given authenticity and very humanity, and that oppresses any of God's children!
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