Monday, November 30, 2009

AN INTERVIEW AND SOME INFORMATION ABOUT "THE FAMILY"

This interview with Jeff Sharlet is an eye-opener about The Family and their often gross distortion of the Gospel!

By the way, regarding the National Prayer Breakfast, that was founded by The Family, it would be wise to hear Jesus on this subject:

And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you , They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. (Matthew 6:5-6)

It would be naive to think that The Family and its allies don't have a great deal of direct and indirect political sway both in the U.S. and most likely in other parts of the world as well.

Implications of groups like The Family for LGBT rights should become obvious and that's why, whether or not homophobic professing Christians are associated with this group or not, they are certainly on the same page as is this group and what it seems to represent, certainly regarding Gay civil rights, and many people in positions of political power are certainly influenced by the values of this group, as explicated in this interview!

All too often we have seen Christianity represented by mere thugs, often with smug, self-righteous, and sanitized rhetoric, who link what they call "Christianity" with Americanism, jingoism, capitalism, and militarism! And the gullible among us (and there are a lot of them) buy into this perversion hook, line, and sinker!

(In this connection, you might be interested in an article that I wrote concerning the enmeshment of most of the institutional Church with the Power Elite that is comprised of those who have positions in the highest places of the corporate, political, and military worlds, entitled, It's Not About Issues.)

When professing Christians seek to deny civil rights to others; when they seek to deny universal health care to others; when they transform the Gospel of grace (God's unmerited favor) into the worship of power; when they affirm or don't speak out against unjust wars; when they transform faith (trusting God over and above seen circumstances) into their own political machinations; when they demonize and bear false witness against Gay people; when their values are given credibility by others, whether or not they know of this group and those with whom they are directly or indirectly allied, the precipitous deterioration of our country and of the global community is certainly seen and is certain to even further deteriorate as time goes on.

That's one of the reasons I've always felt that the separation of Church and State is a myth in America, the very essence of "Christianity" has been perverted by ignorant and/or mendacious thugs, and I have long stated that LGBT people are the current canaries in the mine-shaft of society!

The way LGBT people are horribly treated; the way they and their love and sexuality and gender expression are denied dignity and equality that accrue to heterosexual citizens and citizens who can easily be compartmentalized into constructed binary boxes, shows those with eyes to see the poison gas emanating from those who would pervert Christianity, and all decency, to be in accord with their own prejudices.

Just one example: No other minority group would be allowed to suffer the indignity of having their civil rights be put up to a vote of the electorate! What do you think would be the result if a group sought to put on the ballot that African-Americans could no longer enter through the front doors of any public buildings? There would be justifiable outrage expressed, and it would come from virtually all quarters. However, when it comes to Gay people, the rules, rationalizations, and "justifications" become different, for some reason!

As I wrote above, no other minority group would allow itself to suffer the indignity of having its civil rights be put up to popular vote! This fact shows how the poison gas of others' ignorance and/or hatefulness and/or quest for political and "moral" hegemony in the name of "Christianity" has even influenced so many LGBT people!

This is a brief excerpt of the interview, an interview that I strongly urge you to read in its entirety:

And some of the, really the core rhetoric of The Family is this idea that most of us misread the New Testament, that Christ's message - the bottom line of Christ's message wasn't really about love or mercy or justice or forgiveness. It was about power. So Doug Coe, the leader of the group, tries to illustrate this, for instance, by saying, sort of posing a puzzle: name three men in the 20th century who best understood that message of The New Testament. And most people are going to say someone like Martin Luther King, or Bonhoeffer; or maybe they're more conservative, they're going to say Billy Graham. And Coe likes to give in answer: Hitler, Stalin and Mao, which just makes your jaw drop. And he will say - he's quick to say these are evil men, but they understood power. And that message recurs again, and again, and again in The Family.


When I was at the C Street house, I sat in on a session between Doug Coe and Congressman Tiahrt of Kansas. And Coe was encouraging Tiahrt to understand the message of Jesus by thinking about the model of power exemplified by Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot. There are so many examples of this, and I give several because I don't want people to think that I'm cherrypicking one bad choice of words. This is a core idea of The Family. There is actually video that �NBC News� found of Coe talking about the fellowship that he wants to model the things on is like that of the great friendship enjoyed by Hitler, Goebbels, and Himmler.

Now, he is not a neo-Nazi. What he is doing there is he's fetishizing strength. He is not looking to democracy, but this model of absolute strength, and that leads The Family into relationships with men like Museveni in Uganda. Before him, their key man for Africa was a guy named Siad Barre of Somalia, for whom Chuck Grassley became a kind of defacto lobbyist as the United States pumped up his military, which he then used to absolutely destroy his country to such an effect that Somalia has never recovered and today is a haven for al-Qaida, for terrorism, for piracy. It's a lawless nation. The Family says that's part of God's plan.


[For the full interview, see here.]

[Now, also please read The Secret Political Reach of "The Family".]

For a ten minute interview by Thom Hartmann with Jeff Sharlet about The Family, please seen the following video:

Share |

Saturday, November 28, 2009

PLEASE WATCH THIS BEAUTIFUL VIDEO ON THE CHRISTIAN LIFE

PLEASE WATCH THIS BRIEF AND BEAUTIFUL VIDEO TO UNDERSTAND THE ESSENCE OF THE CHRISTIAN LIFE.
Share |

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

THE IGNORANT ATTEMPT TO "TRANSFORM" GAY PEOPLE

His [Phillip Lee] Way Out ministry contends in its brochures that its position comes from the authority of Scripture rather than social sciences and medicine.

The ''sexually broken'' can be transformed through close reading of Scripture and openly discussing temptations, the ministry contends.

"Since it is acquired it can be unacquired." Lee said. "And like I said, a lot of people have bought into the born-that-way theory. There's no Scripture to support that theory."


[For the full article, see here.]

How often we have heard from professing Christian homophobes that being Gay is "an inclination," "a life style," "a temptation," "a sin" by their referring to what they call "the authority of Scripture!" The fact is that that reference to, and interpretation of, Scripture is a lie perpetrated by the ignorant and/or the mendacious and/or the haters in the world!

I defy anyone to show me chapter and verse where same-sex love is condemned, or where same-sex marriage is condemned!

To resort to some Old Testament passages to support the specious argument that being Gay is destructive is terribly misleading, not only because Christians are not bound by the laws of the Old Testament, and that the context of these "clobber passages" are in the framework of a tribal society living on the edge that needs to propagate in order to survive, but that other cultural practices in ancient Israel are affirmed in the Bible that no sane person would currently adopt, such as stoning to death recalcitrant children, stoning to death those caught in adultery, and stoning to death those who work on the Sabbath. I'm not even going into such prohibitions listed in the Bible as the eating shell fish and the wearing of mixed fibers in one's clothes!

More to the point, the attempt to "transform," or in any way suppress, that which God has made is a sin in and of itself!

Being Gay is "acquired" the same way that being Straight is "acquired!" God made us in these ways, and it is a sin to thwart God's plan for any of God's children, for to do so not only does inexplicable harm to that person, but also thwarts the will of God and shows a definite lack of trust in God and in God's plan for each person's life!

Even secular psychologists affirm the possible danger that accrues to those who are the victims of attempts to change their sexual orientation, and Christians should know enough to agree with that affirmation as well, even on purely biblical grounds. Our sexuality is a wonderful gift from God, and that is true whether we were created to be Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or Transgender!

The love story of David and Jonathan (1Samuel 18-20), and the story of Deborah (Judges 4-5), a Judge and fierce and well-respected warrior in Israel whom I have always considered to be Transgendered, shows that God mightily uses God's Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered children for God's own purposes; God creates us the way God wants, and God doesn't make any mistakes!

For those who believe in "transforming" Gay people into something other than the way they were created to be by God is to show a decided lack of faith in God, and the Bible makes very clear that without faith it is impossible to please God! (See, for example, Hebrews 11:6.)

So, it is those who don't trust God and God's creative abilities, and who think that God makes mistakes, and who refuse to understand that God specializes in diversity, who are the real sinners!

And LGBT people who are comfortable in and with their own bodies, knowing that they are not some mistake, know that God created them just as God ordained from the foundation of the world (for example, see Ephesians 1:4), who are the ones who express their faith in God, and are thereby enabled to live the abundant life that Jesus promises all of us who abide in Him!

Please don't listen to ignorant wolves in sheep's clothing, be they clergy or not, who are seeking to thwart God's will for your life!

Put your full trust in God, and don't trust the rhetoric of others who may well have prejudices based on unresolved sexual conflicts in their own lives, thereby trying with all their might to suppress in you what they are often trying to suppress in themselves!
Share |

Monday, November 23, 2009

THE BLIGHT OF MORAL COWARDICE

“The Vice Chancellor of City University London, Julius Weinberg, should resign. He is refusing to take any action after the Islamic Society hosted a fundamentalist preacher, Abu Usamah, who advocates the murder of gay people and of Muslims who give up their faith,” said human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell.

Abu Usamah was recorded on Channel Four’s television documentary, Undercover Mosque, as saying: “Do you practice homosexuality with men? Take that homosexual man and throw him off the mountain....”

Another speaker given a platform at the same City University event on 4 November, Murthadah Khan, was also caught on the Undercover Mosque documentary calling Jews and Christians “enemies” and “filthy”.


[For the full article, see here

I strongly urge you to read the full article, as it not only shows the vile hatred that is spewed in the public arena but, more to the point of this post, shows the moral cowardice of people like the Vice Chancellor of City University London.

Having been a professor, and serving in assorted administrative capacities, for forty years, I've never ceased to be amazed at the moral cowardice of most faculty and administrators who inhabit universities!

As we see in the above cited article, even the most egregious, hateful, rhetoric is spewed without the Vice Chancellor condemning that rhetoric that affirms both hatred and hateful acts perpetrated against others in the name of "free speech."

As Chief Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes succinctly stated, free speech does not entitle one to shout "fire" in a crowded theater!

"Fire" is being shouted by assorted homophobic (and other xenophobic) clergy who are given a platform that enhances their undeserved credibility to help cause untold harm, suffering, and even deaths to others, and they do so in the name of God, no less!

If we don't confront this hatred, be be that hatred expressed in rhetorical form or in actions, the bullies win!

As every schoolchild knows, when a bully confronts you, if you tolerate that confrontation, he/she will escalate his/her bullying. If you fight back, he/she is likely to climb back under the rock from which he/she emerged.

Bullies are basically cowards! So, in this case, we have one coward allowing other cowards to have their way, and the bullies win because of this lack of confrontation!

It is unfortunate that Christians are expected to be milquetoasts! We are, indeed, called upon to suffer all types of indignities for the sake of God!

The tragedy is that if we stand for the bullying of others, we are behaving diametrically opposite to what God expects of each of God's disciples, because we are allowing evil to prosper at the expense of others' well-being.

Turning the other cheek is relevant to one's own cheek! It is not up to us to turn the cheek of those who are being victimized, and that is what we precisely do when we keep silent amidst hate-speech and discrimination directed against others!

It is moral cowards like Weinberg seems to be who have allowed hate to prosper; discrimination to endure; suffering to escalate; suicides, assaults, and murders to occur!

I imagine Weinberg is not a Christian, but his silence amidst this atrocity mimics so much of what I have seen within universities and by clergy and their followers within churches that comprise most of the institutional Church!

Those who remain silent amidst the oppression of others leave a hateful legacy that further erodes the civility of society; escalates the hatred evinced by the bullies among us; terribly hurts our fellow human beings; despite rhetoric to the contrary, defames God!
Share |

Saturday, November 21, 2009

THE SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BEING A CHRISTIAN AND JUST GOING TO CHURCH





[Thanks to Jason Turner and Pete Zayonce.]
Share |

Friday, November 20, 2009

INTERNATIONAL TRANSGENDER DAY

INTERNATIONAL TRANSGENDER DAY. ALSO SEE HERE.
Share |

Thursday, November 19, 2009

THE IRONY AND IRRATIONALITY OF MINORITY GROUP HOMOPHOBIA


This is how Bishop Harry Jackson [Pictured] spent his summer vacation: He hustled back and forth across the District rallying his faithful flock who oppose gay marriage. He leaned into microphones over at the Board of Elections and Ethics, quoting biblical verse, decrying those who would trumpet marriage between man and man, woman and woman.

He continued his protests when the leaves began to fall and the early darkness crawled across the sky. He heard amen this and amen that from the pulpit of his Beltsville church. They sent him out to spread their version of the Gospel, and off he went, hopscotching across the country. Sometimes crowds would gather around him like geese, in Denver, in Los Angeles, sometimes 10,000 at a time. He spoke to swelling groups of people who felt the same way he did about same-sex marriage: No, no, no.

He popped up on national talk shows. The conservative radio commentators ushered him into their studios.


[For the full article, see here.](Thanks to AmericaBlogGay.)

Bishop Harry Jackson is a man who, as an African American, has a legacy of grinding oppression and unimagined suffering relieved only by intensive civil rights agitation by those who endured what Martin Luther King called "a season of suffering." It was this "season of suffering" that enabled the Harry Jacksons of the world to have what credibility they enjoy, but by no means deserve to the degree that they seek to deny the same civil rights of which they were once deprived but that they now enjoy precisely because of that civil rights struggle.

Now, Harry Jackson, and those minority group members who agree with him regarding the minority group of LGBT people, is exhibiting what may be seen to be a version of what Vilfredo Pareto, a famous early twentieth century Sociologist called, "the circulation of elites," whereby a deprived group, once it gets some measure of power, then turns around and oppresses another minority group.

Jackson invokes the Bible and God to seek to justify his homophobia, his intense desire to prevent same-sex loving couples from benefitting from the institution of marriage, with all of the civil and sacramental rights that accrue to that institution. (In this connection, please read my October 21, 2009 post, The Danger of the Religious Right.)

The irony of a member of one minority group seeking to prevent full equality of another minority group, beyond invoking the Bible and God to justify that oppression, is seen when we read of many of the "justifications" used by professing "Christian" White Supremacists to maintain the institutions of Slavery, Segregation and Jim Crow laws that once were institutionalized in the U.S. Indeed, "...religious endorsement of Jim Crow went a long way to sanctifying segregation as a widespread social reality." (See here.)

It would be instructive for the Harry Jacksons of the religious world to learn from the following:

For centuries, Christian artwork had depicted Satan and his demons as black. In Christian literature, Satan was described as black, even specifically as an African, such as in Athanasius' Life of Saint Anthony and the medieval best-seller Voyage of Brendan. Not surprisingly, Christians decided that Africans and Indians were a lot closer to Satan than white-skinned Europeans and acted accordingly to protect themselves from the "pollution" of contact with dark-skinned peoples. Read historian Forrest G. Wood's The Arrogance of Faith for an in-depth exploration of the Christian origin of racism, slavery and segregation.

That's why defenders of slavery in the antebellum South repeatedly use the Bible and refer to Christian concepts in their arguments. Read The Ideology of Slavery, which reprints slavery defenses, edited by Drew Gilpin Faust, to see how devoutly Christian the defenders were. Defenders correctly note that the Bible repeatedly condones slavery, even commands it at times, and never condemns it. Even the Tenth Commandment condones slavery; so much for the Commandments as a source of moral virtue. Also read Proslavery, by Larry E. Tise, pages 116-120, for surveys showing the overwhelmingly Christian character of slavery defenses. In one survey of pro-slavery tracts, clergymen wrote more than half.

In the aftermath of the Civil War, it's no surprise that Sunday morning became the most segregated time of the week. Nor is it surprising that it was agnostics and atheists in various liberal movements who spoke out first against segregation and racism. That's one reason that white segregationists--clergy included--labeled the civil-rights workers "communists," a word they considered synonymous with atheism.


[For the full article, see here.]

Part of an Abstract of an article entitled, God, Preachers, And Segregation, reads as follows:

In 1965, transcripts were collected of 72 sermons on the issue of racial integration preached between 1955 and 1965. The sermons, all given by Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, or Episcopal ministers in the southern United States, were examined to determine the position advocated by the minister. The sermons deemed segregationist were then analyzed for recurring strategies used to defend the segregation viewpoint. The major arguments of the segregationists may be summarized as follows: (1) segregation is the divine will of God as expressed in the Bible; (2) desegregation leads to mixed marriages, which are undesirable; (3) segregation is a universal law of nature...(5) the motives of those who support integration are improper; (6) segregation does not necessarily entail discrimination....

So, the irony of the homophobic pronouncements of the religious Harry Jacksons of the world is that those pronouncements virtually mimic much of the rhetoric of the White Supremacist clergy that was used against their ancestors, and that helped to provide "justification" for the institutions of slavery and segregation in society.

As I wrote in an article, It's Not About Issues:

...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.


Unfortunately, appeals to rationality and to the essence of the Gospel message seems to have little, if any, influence on deeply prejudiced people, particularly if those people can get their fifteen minutes of fame, and acquire a great deal of power, prestige, and wealth by bearing false witness against Gay people, and preaching exclusionary rhetoric that appeals to people's prejudices and xenophobic feelings and unfounded fears.

It comes down to the fact that the rhetoric of the Harry Jacksons of the religious world are not merely bankrupt, but that there are all too many gullible people who take their rhetoric seriously, and thereby suppress and subvert the "season of suffering" that their ancestors endured; they also renounce the entire Gospel that they falsely say they preach, as well as they renounce the Prince of Peace, the very God, Whom they say they represent!
Share |

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

PLEASE LISTEN TO THIS FIVE MINUTE SERMON

Bishop Yvette Flunder, Senior Pastor of City of Refuge, UCC published this brief video on Facebook yesterday, and I very much want you to see it and circulate it to all LGBT people and their families.

Share |

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

SANITIZED HOMOPHOBIA THAT APPEALS TO "ITCHING EARS"

The Apostle Paul told his son in the faith, Timothy, the following: "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables." (2Timothy 4:3-4)

"Sound doctrine" in Christianity is the Gospel of grace, or God's unmerited favor bestowed on all those who trust God over and above seen circumstances! It's this Gospel that is at the heart of Christianity, as it reflects Jesus' life, ministry, and teachings! There is no other Gospel than the Gospel of grace that one appropriates through faith in Christ!

Rhetoric of legalism and perfectionism, the do's and don'ts that all too many clergy ram down people's throats in the name of the Bible, Christianity, and God is a perversion of the faith, does an injustice to Christians, to non-Christians who might wish to know more about Christianity, and to God!

Unfortunately, the sound doctrine of grace is rarely to be heard within most of the institutional Church, and those with "itching ears" who long for gurus to tell them what to think and how to live are in abundance to the degree that even megachurches exist where, as in the case of Joel Osteen, pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, has memberships as high as 40,000 or even higher.

And why not? Most people who attend most churches within the institutional Church are told what they want to hear by someone who presumes to know what God wants from others; what they say God wants usually reflects their own prejudices, so that someone like Osteen has the temerity to say that being Gay is "not God's best."

He doesn't say that being Gay is a sin, because he doesn't have to! The confident smile on his face and his sanitized rhetoric regarding this subject is sufficient to get this message across without his having to resort to virulent homophobic remarks, and thereby not risk offending even many of those who consider themselves to be "liberals."

No one asks him how he knows this seeming fact that being Gay is "not God's best," and how his oracular pronouncement on this subject jibe with the Gospel of grace; how his pronouncements jibe with the fact that Jesus never condemned same-sex love; same-sex love is never mentioned in the Ten Commandments; same-sex love is not condemned by any of the prophets.

Indeed, no one even thinks to asks such questions of him or of many other clergy because the constant inundation visited upon us by homophobic clergy has transformed a big lie into what is considered "the truth" in the eyes of gullible people who have "itching ears."

With a perpetual smile on his face, bespeaking to me a self-satisfied confidence in himself and his "knowledge" of "God's best," Osteen's smarmy rhetoric is difficult for me to bear or even hear, and it is, therefore, difficult for me to even watch him in action in the following video.

However, I did have enough stomach to listen to the following five minute video so that I could share with you what I consider to be the bankruptcy of so much of what purports to be "Christianity."

All too often there are clergy who equate and even enmesh "Christianity" with Americanism, jingoism, capitalism, and militarism, and do so in the name of God, and craft their messages so that people can leave church "feeling good," even amidst the injustices of life, and amidst the oppression of others for which these very clergy provide the principle "justifications." This is not the "Christianity" that I know and that I see in the Bible!

Here is the video with Joel Osteen: [Thanks to Gay Agenda.]

Share |

Monday, November 16, 2009

TOWARD OUR FINAL AND BLESSED DESTINATION

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven....Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:3,10)

Share |

Thursday, November 12, 2009

WHEN SEXUAL SUPPRESSION TRUMPS THE GOSPEL MESSAGE

The Catholic Archdiocese of Washington said Wednesday that it will be unable to continue the social service programs it runs for the District if the city doesn't change a proposed same-sex marriage law, a threat that could affect tens of thousands of people the church helps with adoption, homelessness and health care.

[For the full article, see here.]

The following is a slightly edited version of what I wrote to some friends of mine regarding this article:

This is my take on it: When people are forced to suppress sexual activity, a most primal urge, the frustration borne of such an unnatural yoke of bondage often manifests itself in self-destructive ways and also in ways that are often destructive to others. When that phenomenon is coupled with what I call "Genital Theology," where morality, Christianity, and religion are largely and falsely seen to be based on sexual matters; when such "theology" (be it in the RC Church or in reactionary protestant churches) is a money-maker that attracts true believers who are usually one-dimensional in their thinking, that mind-set takes on a life of its own.

And, therefore, these true believers can see no contradiction between professing to be "Christians" on the one hand and also hold deeply seated prejudices on the other hand. And they'll even hold the poor and children hostage to their one-dimensional thinking and prejudices, all largely based on their own sexual suppression, and see no contradiction between RC dogma regarding sexuality and caring for the poor that Jesus taught His disciples to do.

Moreover, having the temerity to seem to take the "moral high ground" deflects concentration from the RC Church's egregious sexual scandals and projects them, and blames them, on Gay people, further providing false justification for their prejudice against Gay people, which is often a projection of the self-loathing and frustration of many RC clergy as Gay and/or sexually confused and immature bureaucrats.

And, when obedience to that bureaucracy is inculcated into its clergy to the degree that it is through formation in seminaries and beyond, most (though by no means all) hold to the Vatican's party line.

[For an excellent letter to the D.C. archdiocese of the RC Church, see here.]
Share |

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

EVIDENCE OF OBAMA'S CONTEMPT FOR LGBT PEOPLE

This link provides all the evidence we need to show the disdain, the contempt, that Obama has for LGBT people!

One more thing: Donnie McClurkin is the person Obama courted and used in his campaign.

In this connection, regarding Donnie McClurkin, you might be interested in my article, Self-Loathing, Being Duped, and Believing a Lie.

Also, The Miseducation of Donnie McClurkin, by Don Charles.
Share |

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

THE COARSENING OF OUR SOCIETY AND HOMOPHOBIC CLERGY

The reason I'm linking to this article is that it highlights and reinforces the increasing coarsening of our culture that makes homophobic rhetoric, even the most vile and bizarre of such rhetoric, viewed as acceptable and even seem legitimate to many people within our society.

There are certain things that decent people don't do! Discussing one's sex life with one's spouse (or any other person, for that matter) in the public arena, divulging intimate details about the other person regarding the most intimate dimension of that relationship, is truly indecent and disgusting!

And if such betrayal and indecency is able to be leeched out into the public sphere, shame knows no bounds! We see such coarsening in all too many relationships, "religious" and political rhetoric, and much of what passes for "humor" and "commentary" in the media.

One only has to listen to most radio talk shows to see that coarsening of the culture and how it resonates with all too many gullible people who are unable or unwilling to allow their dark sides, dark sides we all possess to one degree or another, to become subordinate to the values that Jesus and other religious leaders have historically articulated. What makes this coarsening so egregious, beyond the obvious, is that hateful rhetoric, hatred and hate-mongering, are no longer on the fringes of many societal institutions but have taken center stage in much thought, words, and actions.

So, even the most reprehensible and irrational demagogic pronouncements from the pulpit regarding LGBT people is often seen by many as being consistent with biblical teaching, and with "conservative Christianity," when, in fact, such pronouncements are diametrically opposed to anything with which, Jesus, the Gospel, and Christianity have to do.

And, far from being "conservative Christianity," or "Bible-based," these pronouncements and often discriminatory actions by many clergy and their gullible followers represent another "religion" or world-view altogether! They have absolutely nothing to do with Christianity, and that fact must be hammered home every chance we get in any and every venue possible!

Since when can the life, ministry, teachings, and works of the Prince of Peace, the Embodiment of Love, the One Who tells His disciples to care for each other and for all of God's children be seen as being consistent with homophobic rhetoric and actions by those who have the temerity to call themselves "Christians"; be seen as being within the domain of "conservative Christianity?" Such a view is bizarre on its face!

Yet, that view is not often seen as being bizarre to the degree that our society has become increasingly coarsened!

And that coarsening is no better served than by homophobic clergy who falsely presume upon themselves, and pronounce themselves, to be arbiters of morality and yet bear false witness and defame God's LGBT children, and frequently do so to loud applause!

The indecency of such clergy mimics the indecency of any spouse who would divulge the sex life he/she had or has with his/her spouse! The only difference (and it's a big difference) is that the latter makes no assertion that he/she is taking the moral high ground, and is a representative of God on earth!

So, the tell-all spouse, as reprehensible as he/she is, is even more decent (and honest) than are homophobic clergy who presume to represent Jesus and yet who are ravenous wolves who lead gullible sheep astray and who have caused untold suffering to God's Gay children!
Share |

Sunday, November 8, 2009

A COMMENTARY BY DON CHARLES ON BISHOP JOHN SPONG'S MANIFESTO

Please read the excellent two-part post, You Can't Go Halfway, by my good friend Don Charles.

It deals with Bishop John Spong's essay, A Manifesto! The Time Has Come!

All Christians and all decent people should read both Spong's essay and Don Charles' two-part post.

It's important to remember that one can be a decent person and not be a Christian! However EVERY SINGLE Christian is a decent person, and if one is not a decent person, he/she is not a Christian!
Share |

Saturday, November 7, 2009

THE CHURCH OF UGANDA AND THE "ANTI-HOMOSEXUALITY BILL"

In April 2009, Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi said, "I am appalled to learn that the rumours we have heard for a long time about homosexual recruiting in our schools and amongst our youth are true. I am even more concerned that the practice is more widespread than we originally thought. It is the duty of the church and the government to be watchmen on the wall and to warn and protect our people from harmful and deceitful agendas."

[For the full paper, see here.]

In the above cited November 6, 2009 letter, the Rev. Canon Aaron Mwesigye of the Anglican Province of Uganda says this issue of increasing terms of imprisonment for Gay people is still being considered by the Church of Uganda so that The Church of Uganda is studying the proposed "Anti-homosexuality bill" and, therefore, does not yet have an official position on the bill.

This statement is profoundly offensive on its face! The Church of Uganda doesn't have an official position on imprisoning and depriving others of their liberties and freedom? What kind of "Christianity" does this obscenity represent? It's certainly not the Christianity of Jesus, of the Gospel of grace, of the Bible!

Some of the details of the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill are as follows:

Over recent months, there has been increased campaigning against homosexuality in Uganda, led by churches and anti-gay groups. The media have joined this campaign, and have publicly pointed to individuals they accuse of being gay or lesbian.

People suspected of being gay have faced death threats and been physically assaulted. Many have been ostracized by their families or faced discrimination, including dismissal from their place of employment.

This new draft bill includes a provision that could lead to the imprisonment for up to three years of anyone, including heterosexual people, who fails to report within 24 hours the identities of everyone they know who is lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, or who supports human rights for people who are.


[For the full article, see here.]

Also:

The bill criminalizes "promotion of homosexuality" in the form of funding and sponsoring LGBT organizations and broadcasting, publishing, or marketing materials on homosexuality and punishes these acts with a steep fine, 5-7 years of imprisonment, or both. Any person in authority who fails to report known violations of the law within 24 hours will also be subject to a significant fine and up to 3 years in prison – even when this means turning in their colleagues, family, or friends. More shocking, the bill claims jurisdiction over Ugandans who violate its provisions while outside of the country.

The bill effectively bans any kind of community or political organizing around non-heteronormative sexuality.


[For the full article, see here.]

And so the Anglican Church of Uganda is "considering" such a bill, and those who do so portray themselves as "Christians!"

And, where is the outrage by most of the institutional Church? Where are those who are Christians indeed who are called to speak out against such an obscenity? How is it possible to sing "Amazing Grace" and other such hymns and feel no cognitive dissonance in either their advocacy or silence when such a Bill is "considered" by professing Christian clergy?

Where are those professing Christians who say, "Enough is enough! Not in the name of Jesus, not in the name of God, will you slander God, the Gospel, Christianity, and us by your ignorant and hateful prejudices that spit in the very face of God?

Those in the world-wide institutional Church who remain silent in the face of such an obscenity, of the oppression of LGBT people in the name of God, are just as guilty of the sufferings, suicides, assaults, murders, tortures, and imprisonment of LGBT people (and those perceived to be LGBT) than are the thugs who call themselves "Christians," yet whose hearts are filled with the values and prejudices of the demonic!

The level of homophobia within the institutional Church, and clergy rhetoric and discriminatory actions in both the religious and civic arenas, should leave us no doubt that the demonic has strongly infiltrated the institutional Church!
Share |

Friday, November 6, 2009

IT WASN'T GOD WHO TOLD HIM TO HATE GAY PEOPLE

No, it was ignorant, homophobic clergy who told him to hate Gay people!.
Share |

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

LEAVE THE PLAINS OF HOMOPHOBIC CHURCHES AND PICK UP YOUR TENT AND MOVE TO HIGHER GROUND

A foundation that supports gay rights has delivered a petition to Mormon church leaders asking them to reconsider their policies and political activism against gay marriage.

[For the full article, see here.]

Part of the Petition reads as follows:

We believe that the time is right for healing over this issue to begin, for those on both sides to manifest forgiveness, magnanimity, and especially, love. We believe reconciliation requires us to strive for open hearts and minds so that we might live together in peace and mutual respect. It is long past time for those on both sides to begin treating one another with greater dignity, respect and understanding.

[To see the full Petition, see here.]

In conjunction with this Petition, there is a very compelling, heart-felt, video entitled, "Bring Them In From The Plains":



Over many years, ample evidence has been presented that homophobia that is linked with many clergy's interpretation of selected Bible verses that has been enmeshed, if not fused, with their views of Christianity and "morality," is not going to be swayed or altered by appeals to emotion or to reason. Indeed, their homophobia is not even going to be swayed by biblical exegeses refuting the interpretation of those same passages that homophobic clergy use to bear false witness and discriminate against LGBT people!

It's high time that LGBT Christians make a cold turkey choice, if they haven't done so already! Stay in denominations and churches that view you as objects of disdain and ridicule OR flee those toxic denominations and churches and not subject yourselves to such gross indignities visited upon you "in the name of God."

This choice hinges on at least two criteria:

1. The degree of self-loathing/masochism that you possess.

2. The degree of loyalty you have to an institution that disparages you and seeks to deny you full and equal civil and sacramental rights.

Bishop John Spong of the Episcopal Church, in his article entitled, "A Manifesto! The Time Has Come!," in part wrote the following:

I will no longer seek to slow down the witness to inclusiveness by pretending that there is some middle ground between prejudice and oppression. There isn't. Justice postponed is justice denied. That can be a resting place no longer for anyone. An old civil rights song proclaimed that the only choice awaiting those who cannot adjust to a new understanding was to "Roll on over or we'll roll on over you!" Time waits for no one.

I will particularly ignore those members of my own Episcopal Church who seek to break away from this body to form a "new church," claiming that this new and bigoted instrument alone now represents the Anglican Communion. Such a new ecclesiastical body is designed to allow these pathetic human beings, who are so deeply locked into a world that no longer exists, to form a community in which they can continue to hate gay people, distort gay people with their hopeless rhetoric and to be part of a religious fellowship in which they can continue to feel justified in their homophobic prejudices for the rest of their tortured lives. Church unity can never be a virtue that is preserved by allowing injustice, oppression and psychological tyranny to go unchallenged.


[For the full article, see here.]

LGBT people who choose to remain in homophobic denominations and churches must dig deep into their psyches and seek to discern why they choose to remain in those toxic institutions!

The spurious canard that "It's my church too," as I heard one Roman Catholic say on TV, is embarrassing on its face! You don't make the doctrines, you don't make the dogmas, you can't preach from the pulpit, you have no voice in the formal dimensions of that denomination or church to get your own theological and/or personal views across, you have no right to excommunicate anybody. It is clearly not your church too!

So, I consider the above mentioned Petition to the Mormon Church to be well-meaning but pathetic on its face!

People, particularly clergy, who misuse Scripture and distort the lives of LGBT people as part of their theology and rhetoric; who raise countless millions of dollars to deny one or more civil rights to Gay people; who discriminate against Gay people, have no right to be treated with any degree of deference, let alone given credibility by being given petitions appealing to their reason and/or emotions; they have no right to be given credibility by your presence and your money, or the presence and money of any decent person who professes to be a Christian.

Enough is enough! If the role of the LDS Church, the RC Church, and most churches within the institutional Church regarding Prop. 8 in California and the recent vote removing the right of same-sex marriage in Maine doesn't make you angry enough to remove yourselves from these toxic institutions, I don't know what will.

All decent people and LGBT people who attend homophobic churches must examine their hearts and try and discern whether inertia should overcome anger; whether loyalty to one's tradition should overcome exposing oneself to lies and hateful rhetoric; whether any degree or even vestige of self-loathing should overcome giving credibility to institutions that misuse the Bible; whether any taint of masochistic needs should overcome discrimination and oppression visited upon LGBT people "in the name of God."

To all LGBT people, and all decent people who call themselves "Christians," I ask that you examine your psyches and ask yourselves why you choose to attend toxic institutions that demean and hurt others, and that cause untold suffering by their rhetoric and oppression of others in both the religious and civic arenas.
Share |

HOW CAN IT BE CONSTITUTIONAL TO PUT ANY GROUP'S CIVIL RIGHTS UP TO A VOTE OF THE ELECTORATE? A COMMENT BY DON CHARLES.

My friend, Don Charles, who blogs at Christ, The Gay Martyr. posted the following comment on gay.americablog.com that is well worth reading. As you know, I've always been against putting any minority group's civil rights up to a vote by the electorate, having any group's civil rights be beholden to the will and whim of the dominant group in society, and his comment beautifully hammers that point home.

What is both stunning and depressing is how many millions and millions of dollars are wasted on these hate campaigns. If you add up all the 31 pro-gay campaigns we have lost, both sides have flushed hundreds of millions of dollars." What's really stunning and depressing is the cluelessness of the so-called Gay community and its spokesmen, including otherwise intelligent folk like Joe Sudbay and John Aravosis. When and how did we become convinced that voting on citizenship rights was a sane thing to do? Who decided that knocking on doors and trying to promote compassion in the same way you'd promote a political candidate would work? You can't root out deeply entrenched prejudice that way, especially not when there's a preacher in a pulpit every Sunday morning undermining your efforts with hateful doctrine! We've once more allowed ourselves to be punked by the religious Right Wing. We've willingly let them trick us into playing a game they know we can't win. Like it or not, people, marriage equality is a fight for the courts, not for the ballot box! We do immeasurable damage to the US Constitution when we participate in and validate anti-Gay ballot measure battles! We help set dangerous precedents! This issue is bigger than marriage equality. It's about our very democracy, and how we unwittingly help our enemies to destabilize it. Our energy and resources should be going toward legal challenges, not futile campaigns like Proposition 8 and Question 1! When will we learn?"
Share |

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

WHY ARE THE CHURCHES SILENT AMIDST LGBT OPPRESSION IN UGANDA AND ELSEWHERE?

The Ugandan embassies of France and the United States publicly condemned Uganda's proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill on Monday, but officials in the African nation plan to move forward with the discriminatory legislation....

The bill would amplify the country's antigay laws, including criminalizing any public discussion of homosexuality and penalizing individuals who knowingly rented property to a homosexual.


[For the full article, see here.]

I'm afraid that to ask the question posed by the title of this post is to answer it!

Most all of the institutional Church is patriarchal, heterosexist, bureaucratic, cowardly, and supports the status quo from which it profits by receiving its members' contributions in the collection plates that keep ministerial careers afloat!

There is nothing in Christian theology that supports discrimination of any kind, and to keep silent in the face of such discrimination, of such oppression, whether in Uganda, Jamaica, or anywhere else, is to support that discrimination and oppression, and makes those who remain silent just as culpable in the oppression, assaults, imprisonment, and murders of LGBT people than those who actively support these egregious acts!

And no disciple of Christ can either advocate discrimination, actually discriminate, or remain silent in the face of discrimination against LGBT people or against any other minority group!

So much of what passes for "Christianity" has been mere thuggery often couched in sanitized terms designed by many professing Christian clergy and their followers to seduce gullible people into buying into their homophobic prejudices by falsely appealing to such terms as "tradition," "traditional family values," "for the good of the children," "morality and decency," and "it's in the Bible."

And, sometimes the terms are not at all sanitized! For example, hear Bishop Isaac Orama’s getting caught saying that LGBT people are “inhuman, insane, satanic and not fit to live.” [See here.]

And hear Archbishop Peter Akinola:

Homosexuality and lesbianism, like divorce, breed a society of single parents which gives rise to a generation of bastards. And in the context of much poverty and lack of education, this further produces an ill-bred generation of hooligans, portending much terror to the peace and stability of the society. [See here.]

And hear our homegrown "religious" demogagues, the late Rev. Jerry Falwell, with Pat Robertson concurring, opining on why 9/11 happened:

Rev. Jerry Falwell: I really believe that the pagans and the abortionists and the feminists and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way, all of them who try to secularize America...I point the finger in their face and say you helped this happen." [See here.]

And most all churches within the institutionalized Church remain silent amidst this oppression because their congregants are quite comfortable with their incestuous socialization, spending their time discussing building beautification programs, attending church regularly, and singing their pious hymns.

Indeed, most clergy within the institutional Church, by their homophobic rhetoric and frequently warped doctrines and dogmas that make that rhetoric sound "godly" to their gullible followers, have encouraged rank discrimination against LGBT people both in the U.S. and in places like Jamaica and Uganda.

Is it any wonder that the moral high ground in the struggle for LGBT rights is not taken by most within the institutional Church, but is taken by most who are outside that structure, many of whom are not even Christians? And this fact is a profound embarrassment to all Christians worthy of the name!

It is a tragedy when secular forces lead the way in condemning the oppression of LGBT people, and when professing Christians encourage discrimination and oppression of others by their rhetoric, by their actions, and by their silence!

In this most significant and crucial civil rights movement of our time, full civil and sacramental equality for LGBT people, Jesus tells all who claim to be His disciples, and who persist in remaining silent amidst the oppression of LGBT people, what Mordecai told his cousin (whom he raised when her parents died) Esther, when the Jewish people in Shushan, which was in Persia, were slated to be murdered:

For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father's house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this? (Esther 4:14)

All Christians should meditate on Mordecai's admonition to Esther!
Share |

Monday, November 2, 2009

ONLY A WARPED THEOLOGY COULD SEE SOME TYPES OF DISCRIMINATION AS BEING "JUST"

In an article entitled, "Churches Welcome Gay Bans" the following mind-blowing statement by Roman Catholic Cardinal George Pell appears:

"It is important to protect people from unjust discrimination but it is ridiculous to claim discrimination every time we show a preference for some people over others.

[For the full article, see here.]

If showing a preference for some people over others, and seeking to allocate dignity and rights based upon those preferences, isn't prejudicial and discriminatory, then I fail to see the very definition of "unjust discrimination" from any Christian (or any other rational) world-view!

Moreover, the very adjective Pell uses, "unjust," shows that he seems to see that certain types of discrimination can be "just."

And this is part of the heart of the problem of homophobia by many professing Christians when RC and other clergy advocate discrimination against one or more minority groups: they seem to feel that such discrimination and deprivation of civil and sacramental rights are "just!"

So we have self-professed representatives of the Prince of Peace, Who, told all who would be His disciples to love God and love and not judge others, advocating prejudice and discrimination, and further viewing such prejudice and discrimination as being "just" according to their warped theology.

And, of course, their view of "unjust" discrimination would entail anything that would offend a denomination's self-interest; the interests of such vulnerable people as foster children and recipients of charity, as seen in the above cited article, are being held hostage to anything that thwarts that warped view:

Charities and religious groups could discriminate against gay people or anyone else who might offend their values after a landmark decision quashed a finding in favour of a gay couple who wanted to become foster parents.

Both the Catholic and Anglican churches have praised the ruling and Cardinal George Pell said anti-discrimination cases threatened churches' ability to do charity work.


What an indictment against professing Christians who would sacrifice the vulnerable in society to their discriminatory dogmas; bear false witness and see nothing wrong with discriminating against God's LGBT children!

Let this sink in:

...and Cardinal George Pell said anti-discrimination cases threatened churches' ability to do charity work.
Share |