Saturday, January 31, 2009


The following is part of the transcript of Larry King's interview with Ted Haggard:

King: Did you not, though, preach against homosexuality?

Haggard: Yes, I did. And I...

King: Wasn't that hypocritical?

Haggard: It was hypocritical. Absolutely, it was. And the reason I did was because I have a belief system that I still have. I believe the Bible is the word of God. I believe Jesus is the son of God. I believe in being born again, those things that are fundamental to Christianity.

And I knew that the Bible was a set of ideals. The Bible says God hates divorce, but we know that lots of fine, wonderful people have to go through the horrible experiences of divorce.

We know that the Bible says pray continually. And I'm not giving it as an excuse, but I knew -- I knew that the Bible taught that sexuality was -- I felt like God's plan was for sexuality to be in a monogamous, heterosexual marriage. And I wanted that for myself. I wanted to please God. But at the same time, I had these other things going on and I ended up violating my wife and family and everything.

King: And since you didn't know why you had them going on -- no one knows why they are...

Haggard: Right. No, we didn't know.

I don't want to dwell on Ted Haggard's hypocrisy, as enough has been written on that issue to last a lifetime. Rather, I want to emphasize how complex we are as human beings, and how complex life is for each of us whereby none of us can afford to throw stones at anyone else, whether or not we invoke the Bible as presumed justification to throw those stones.

What is heartbreaking, however, in this whole scandal is that both Ted Haggard and his wife erroneously continue to believe that being Gay is a sin and violates the biblical injunction for all people to be Straight. This conclusion is clearly not true, but the very fact that this distortion of the Bible is so endemic within most Christian communities speaks to the truth of Hitler's propaganda minister Joseph Goebbel's assertion that no matter how big the lie is, if it's repeated often enough people will come to believe it.

In this case, unnecessary shame was visited on Haggard; he felt the need to be hypocritical about homosexuality, thereby causing untold damage to countless numbers of Gay people and their families by castigating them and their sexual orientation as a sin; showing himself to be a man for whom the accusation of being mentally ill is preferable to being viewed as Gay. Indeed, by depicting Gay people as sinners, he contravened one of the Ten Commandments that says we are not to bear false witness!

He need not have come out as a Gay man, but could at least have kept his mouth shut about the whole issue while he was pastor of the megachurch, New Life Church when he was its pastor before the scandal broke. However, in order to adhere to the party line; attract many members to his congregation, many of whom seem to love to have a seemingly vulnerable minority be viewed as an out-group in order to feel superior and have increased in-group cohesion, he felt the need to preach against the very behaviors in which he, himself, engaged.

We are to make no mistake: it is not an infrequent occurrence that those who frequently rail against a given behavior are often the very ones who either engage in that behavior or are in some way conflicted about their engaging in that behavior. The mechanism operating in this duplicity and hypocrisy is largely "denial" about who they are as human beings, comprised of all the complexity that comprises the human condition for each and every one of us.

As I've often written, in life one size doesn't fit all, and in the Christian life one size doesn't fit all, either. One can be Straight and be a mature Christian, and one can be Gay and be a mature Christian!

There is nothing in the Bible that justifies viewing homosexuality, same-sex love, as a sin! It's very unfortunate, to put it mildly, that Haggard doesn't see that fact; that he felt he need to communicate the lie that same-sex love is a sin and is unbiblical; that to this day he doesn't cop to being Gay; that he put his family through hell in having to deal with this scandal; that he is causing himself additional mental health problems by his denial of a good part of his sexuality; that he has undoubtedly caused others to live lives of needless guilt and shame, falsely thinking that they are sinners and that God can't possibly love them just as they are.

And all of these assertions, boldly made in the name of God, was and is a big lie!

As I have written in an article for an upcoming issue of "The Sacramento Valley Mirror," a newspaper in which I have a weekly column entitled, "Christianity and Society":

Like many Christians, I have been curious and dismayed about what seems to be the increasing appeal of fundamentalism and fundamentalist thinking within Christianity. Actually, “fundamentalism,” rather than being within the mainstream of orthodox Christianity, may more profitably be seen as a relatively recent phenomenon that may be seen to be a sect that has grown out of Christianity, rather than existing as a movement within the rubric of orthodox Christianity itself. It is, therefore, indeed ironic that many people have come to equate fundamentalism with Christianity itself, and very often view Christianity as a legalistic religion when, in fact, and quite the opposite, it is a call to freedom in Christ, and is a religion of grace, love, and peace.

It is "fundamentalist" thinking that makes one's interpretation of the Bible as one's idol, thereby both contravening one of the Ten Commandments, as well as unbiblically preaching hate, guilt, and exclusion of others, that has caused the Ted Haggards of the world, and all of their gullible followers, to not only often live lives of quiet desperation, but have also caused so many others to live similarly guilt-ridden lives. And all in the name of God who, ironically, in the Person of Jesus preached the very opposite.

They often see the Bible as a rule book rather than as a vehicle that shows forth the love and grace of Jesus Who preached liberation from the assorted yokes of bondage others, particularly th legalists, seek to place on us.

The Apostle Paul captured this essence of the Gospel when he wrote: “For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1)

It's a crying shame that the Ted Haggards of the world, and all, Gay and Straight, who have taken them seriously, would rather take his and other like-minded others' advice and buy into their ungodly yokes of bondage, than take the advice, the liberating Gospel, of Jesus and its reinforcement by the Apostle Paul, in living their Christian lives!
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Thursday, January 29, 2009


Whenever people hate or demonize one minority group, they almost invariably hate or demonize one or more other minority groups. This seeming fact of life is no less true among homophobic clergy than it is among other homophobic professing Christians and non-Christians.

The Roman Catholic Church certainly has no monopoly among haters in so much of the institutional Church as many people know, some from very painful personal experiences. And, to add insult to injury, this hate is almost always characterized as "Godly," as whenever anyone hates any group of people they almost invariably appeal to virtue. And what is viewed by many as more virtuous than any utterance concerning what God ostensibly wants for everyone based upon the perceptions (and often the actual prejudices) of those who speak from assorted pulpits throughout the world?

The following quotes and video clip are taken from, and can be found on its page located here.

Bishop Richard Williamson, who was recently ex-excommunicated by Pope Benedict XVl, had this to say concerning Gay people:

“God did not wait for the founding of the Catholic Church to instill in men the horror of this sin, but he implanted in the human nature of all of us, unless or until we corrupt it, an instinct of violent repugnance for this particular sin, comparable to our instinctive repugnance for other misuses of our human frame, such as coprophagy.”

And also, to help show that the basis of much anti-Gay discrimination and hateful rhetoric directed against Gay people largely rests upon misogyny, Bishop Williamson had the following to say about women:

“Women should not wear trousers” and “almost no girl should go to any university” as it contributes to the “the unwomaning of woman.”

Again, when someone is prejudiced against any one minority group, he/she is very likely to be prejudiced against one or more other minority groups.

And for any professing Christian to feel or express hate or discrimination against any of God's children automatically disqualifies him/her from being taken seriously as a Christian!

One can be an atheist and be a good and decent person of good will. But every single Christian is a good and decent person of good will or he/she is not a Christian, whether or not he/she wears clerical vestments!

Although this post is focusing on Bishop Richard Williamson, it would be a mistake to single him out as the only example of the religious haters among us, some of whom populate some of the highest places in the institutional Church world. Unfortunately, he is only one of very many such haters who spew their discriminatory rhetoric in the name of God and, tragically, they are taken so seriously by so many people that many lives and families are ruined or destroyed by their mere rhetoric.

And they certainly don't deserve any of the credibility afforded them by anyone who considers him/herself to be an intelligent, decent person; certainly not by any Christian worthy of the name!

Please watch the following brief video clip that says far more than anything I can say or add to the thesis of this post. Here is what Bishop Williamson says about the Holocaust:

If you are a Christian, do you want such clergy and professing Christians like him teaching you and your children about the Gospel?
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Tuesday, January 27, 2009


In light of the revelations of Ted Haggard having sexual relations with one of the young men in his congregation when he was Pastor of New Life Church, here is a letter to his congregation at New Life Church by its current pastor Pastor Brady Boyd:
Dear New Life Family,
In the days ahead, there will be new press reports of allegations made by a man who knew Ted Haggard through his involvement with New Life Church. This man has decided to speak to the media about his alleged relationship with Mr. Haggard. Since these allegations were first brought to our attention, New Life Church leadership has reached out to him with compassion by providing him with pastoral care, professional counseling, and financial assistance. We did this with the hope that he would experience healing and move forward with purpose in his life.

At that time, he and church leaders agreed that publishing his allegations or our church’s assistance to him would not be in his best interest. This decision was made not as an attempt to conceal wrongdoings, but to protect him from those who would seek to exploit him. His actions now suggest that he has changed his mind.

A few weeks ago, when the news of the upcoming documentary about Mr. Haggard surfaced, this man informed me that he was considering telling the media the details of his relationship with Mr. Haggard. He was obviously upset about the reported content of the documentary and wished to tell his story.

After Mr. Haggard’s fall, we received reports of a number of incidents of inappropriate behavior. In each case, we have tried our very best to do the right thing, including disciplinary action when appropriate. Our concern has been and continues to be for every person affected. We renew our invitation today for anyone who believes he or she has been hurt to please come forward.
Our current elder team and all of our overseers have been aware of these allegations and have given us wise, prayerful counsel every step of the way. I regret that we have to revisit the unpleasant issues of the past, but I am convinced we are on the path of healing and great days are ahead for all of us. Thanks so much for your continued prayers and support.
Pastor Brady
[See here.]

As Wayne Besen of Truth Wins Out writes:

“Authorities should investigate to ensure that this volunteer was not manipulated or coerced into silence,” said Besen. “The leadership of New Life has little credibility and should not simply be taken at their word. At a minimum, Boyd should resign for using his position of power to pressure a vulnerable member of his congregation into silence.” [See here.]

Hear Mike Jones' point of view. Although he exhibits too much maudlin defensiveness, in my opinion, his brief description of his dealings with Pastor Brady Boyd is instructive:

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Sunday, January 25, 2009


Although civil rights are not meant to be up for grabs at the will and whim of the majority since we are a Democratic Republic, where a tyranny of the majority is to be feared, and feared for good reason, the following excerpt from an article entitled, Prop. 8 opponents unhappy with campaign leaders, is very instructive:

Fifty-one percent of California voters polled said they believed that Prop. 8 was "unfair, unnecessary and wrong"; 44 percent disagreed. Likewise, 50 percent agreed that the measure would "allow discrimination against some groups and individuals," compared with 45 percent who felt the opposite way.

But Prop. 8 still got 52 percent of the vote.

"The influence of the church was a major factor," [San Francisco pollster David Binder for the Equality California Institute] said. "The religious aspect tended to win over concerns about discrimination."

As I have kept hammering home for years, whether one is a Christian or not, the discriminatory messages emanating from most of the institutional Church have dramatically affected the attitudes and behaviors of people so that they really think that their "moral" duty is to discriminate, "Because God says it's OK."

Therefore, most people don't see what they do in depriving a given minority group of full and equal civil rights as being discriminatory, because if the churches say discrimination is OK or, worse, say that discrimination is not at issue since the given minority group are asking for "special rights," it's then viewed by many as being OK to prevent them from realizing those rights.

The reign of the will of the majority is certainly appropriate when it comes to deciding what services they are willing to pay for with their tax money, but the will of the majority is certainly not appropriate when deciding on the civil rights to be accorded to any minority group!

And for discriminatory and sometimes downright hateful clergy and churches to be in the vanguard of shaping public opinion regarding minority rights is nothing short of obscene!

Unfortunately, many people don't have critical intellects and/or the sensitivity necessary to enable them to recognize that we are all equal before the law. And all citizens, Gay and Straight, deserve the same rights and protections accorded the majority under the Constitution of the United States.

To argue and even given the chance to vote otherwise is both discriminatory and hateful!

And for any person posturing as a Christian to advocate discrimination against any of God's children is nothing short of obscene! And any person who takes such professing Christians seriously is dangerously gullible, and is equally culpable in this grave offense against Gay people and against God!

Hear Jesus:"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves." (Matthew 23:15)
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Saturday, January 24, 2009


"It wasn't at all a settlement to make him be quiet or not tell his story," [Brady] Boyd [Senior Pastor of New Life Church] said. "Our desire was to help him. Here was a young man who wanted to get on with his life. We considered it more compassionate assistance — certainly not hush money. I know what's what everyone will want to say because that's the most salacious thing to say, but that's not at all what it was."....

Boyd said the church will not take action against the man if he tells his story in the press.
"We have legal standing to do that, but not the desire to," he said.

[For the full article, see here.]

Once one realizes that the dynamics of many churches mimic the same dynamics of any other group of people who are not Christians, increasing numbers of people will stop listening to lies, hate, and distortions that emanate from all too many pulpits throughout the world.

If we have difficulty believing that this payoff wasn't hush money, despite the Pastor's statement to the contrary, why would anyone believe their lies about the lives of Gay people and what the Bible says about Gay people"?

Hear John Lewis, a hero of the African American civil rights struggle:

“I have fought too hard and for too long against discrimination based on race and color not to stand up against discrimination based on sexual orientation. I’ve heard the reasons for opposing civil marriage for same-sex couples. Cut through the distractions, and they stink of the same fear, hatred and intolerance I have known in racism and in bigotry.”

[For the full article, see here.]

We can count on the fact that sometime in the future, those who are alive will look back on this shameful history of discrimination and oppression against LGBT people by Heterosexist Supremacists much as we now do against White Supremacists, and will see most of the institutional Church as being irrelevant and downright dangerous in its participation and encouragement of both of these horrific betrayals of the teachings of Jesus!
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Friday, January 23, 2009


On his excellent blog, Christ, The Gay Martyr, my good friend Don Charles wrote a four part post that spells out better than anything else I have read on this issue the cluelessness and naivety and/or distorted thinking of many Gay people regarding their right to be treated as full fledged citizens of the U.S.; the anemic, pathetic nature of so many of the leaders of the institutional Church, particularly as it relates to LGBT rights, and as expressed and highlighted at President Obama's inauguration.

The following is the email he sent describing this four part post on his blog, and it summarizes his post far better than anything I can write about it. I am not exaggerating when I strongly advise you to read his post of January 21st., and circulate it to all those whom you feel would be interested.

Although he says very kind words about me for which I am very grateful, the major thrust of the value of his post lies in Don Charles' trenchant critique and condemnation of those professing Christian leaders who water down the Gospel of love to accommodate their prejudices; those professing Christian leaders who omit even discussing the Gospel in favor of being people-pleasers; those professing Christian leaders who see no disconnect between professing to be Christians in favor of "justice," and yet seek to deny that "justice" to Gay people, as seen in the inaugural prayers of Bishop Gene Robinson, Rick Warren, and Joseph Lowery.

"Wayward servants like the Reverends Warren, Lowery and Robinson are of little value to the Lord! God has no use for celebrity Dominionists who rush to take advantage of high-profile photo opportunities. He has no need for faded Civil Rights icons who compromise equality principles in order to share in a moment of glory. He has no time for idolatrous preachers who pray to whatever deity seems appropriate at any given time. He wants disciples who glorify His name, follow His Law and spread His Gospel whenever and wherever they get a chance, regardless of consequences. That's precisely what Jerry Maneker would do, and that's precisely why no President-elect will ever invite him to pray at an installation ceremony. Most politicians, President Obama included, only want the appearance of Christianity, and not the substance.

Many LGBT folk seem to value appearance over substance, too. They're satisfied with token mention in political speeches. They're satisfied with token representation at inaugural events. They're satisfied with token appointments to the Executive Branch. They're satisfied with a President that's (allegedly) 'Gay-friendly' but not Gay Rights-affirming. Worst of all, they're satisfied with a Gay Rights movement that lacks urgency. They'll tell you that they want liberation, but they don't much care if or when it comes. They'll list you a hundred reasons why this isn't 'the right time' for full equality. I will never understand this attitude. How can slaves with their minds fixed on liberation rationalize remaining chained? How can they accommodate the overseer's brutal lash on their naked flesh? How can they welcome the taste of his degrading epithets on their own tongues?"

President Barack Obama takes charge of the White House, just in time for another provocative post at Christ, The Gay Martyr. It's the blog that reveals inconvenient truths, and you won't want to miss what's revealed in "Anytime You're Ready", Stuffed Animal's latest attack on LGBT apathy. Featuring inspired contributions from the Rev. Jerry Maneker!

To get a flavor of the analytical skills and hard-hitting insights of Don Charles, here is a brief excerpt from his four part post that I strongly urge you to read in its entirety:

...Don't know about you, but I don't feature playing professor to Straight knuckleheads anytime soon. The only thing LGBT folk have to "convince the majority" of is that we won’t tolerate institutionalized heterosexism anymore. If they don't already know why full equality is desirable in a democracy, then they're too damn dumb for us or anybody else to waste time educating.

We'll show the Rick Warrens of this world "the error of their ways" by telling them to shut up, picketing their public appearances, targeting their churches’ tax-exempt status, filing group slander suits, and anything else within legal limits we can do to silence their vicious anti-Gay falsehoods. Hate speech hurts! When you’re hurting, you’re in no mood to schmooze. As for "adding" us to "federally-protected classes", there's no class with more Federal protection than that of American citizen....

To read his four part post, Anytime You're Ready, click on this link.
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Thursday, January 22, 2009


I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank the Managing Editor, James Hipps, of for the excellent experience I had during the one hour podcast interview he did with me. His questions were not only thoughtful and intelligent, but he shows himself to be a truly decent, knowledgeable, human being, and I'm honored to have been asked to give that interview for his excellent blog that I suggest you regularly read.

The interview can currently be heard by clicking on this link on the web site.
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Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Today, at 10am PST/1pm EST, on, I'll be interviewed by James Hipps, its Managing Editor, on assorted issues, such as Gay rights, the Church and LGBT discrimination, and a whole host of related subjects. There is also a feature where people can call in and ask questions. The podcast interview will last for one hour.

The live Podcast can be heard at 10am PST/1pm EST by clicking this link.

If you can't hear the interview live at that time, you can hear it as a podcast under the date January 21st on their blog located at, or by clicking this link.
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Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Warren's man in Uganda is a charismatic pastor named Martin Ssempa. The head of the Makerere Community Church, a rapidly growing congregation, Ssempa enjoys close ties to his country's first lady, Janet Museveni, and is a favorite of the Bush White House. In the capitol of Kampala, Ssempa is known for his boisterous crusading. Ssempa's stunts have included burning condoms in the name of Jesus and arranging the publication of names of homosexuals in cooperative local newspapers while lobbying for criminal penalties to imprison them.

Dr. Helen Epstein, a public health consultant who wrote the book, The Invisible Cure: Why We're Losing the Fight Against AIDS in Africa, met Ssempa in 2005. Epstein told me the preacher seemed gripped by paranoia, warning her of a secret witches coven that met under Lake Victoria.

"Ssempa also spoke to me for a very long time about his fear of homosexual men and women," Epstein said. "He seemed very personally terrified by their presence."

When Warren unveiled his global AIDS initiative at a 2005 conference at his Saddleback Church, he cast Ssempa as his indispensable sidekick, assigning him to lead a breakout session on abstinence-only education as well as a seminar on AIDS prevention. Later, Ssempa delivered a keynote address, a speech so stirring it "had the audience on the edge of its seats," according to Warren's public relations agency. A year later, Ssempa returned to Saddleback Church to lead another seminar on AIDS. By this time, his bond with the Warrens had grown almost familial. "You are my brother, Martin, and I love you," Rick Warren's wife, Kay, said to Ssempa from the stage. Her voice trembled with emotion as she spoke, and tears ran down her cheeks.

Right now, tears are running down my cheeks too, Kay!

Warren, in his effort to dispel criticism, has denied harboring homophobic sentiments. "I could give you a hundred gay friends," he told MSNBC's Ann Curry on Dec. 18. "I have always treated them with respect. When they come and want to talk to me, I talk to them." [Isn't that precious!]

But when Uganda's Anglican bishops threatened to bolt from the Church of England because of its tolerant stance towards homosexuals, Warren parachuted into Kampala to confer international legitimacy on their protest.

"The Church of England is wrong, and I support the Church of Uganda on the boycott," Warren proclaimed in March 2008. Declaring homosexuality an unnatural way of life, Warren flatly stated, "We shall not tolerate this aspect [homosexuality in the church] at all."

[For the full article on the person chosen by Obama to give the Inaugural prayer, see here.]

Warren is more dangerous, in my opinion, than most other professing Christian homophobes. He's slick, smooth, and appears very reasonable. Yet, his fervor at disseminating HIS brand of "Christianity," and his easy disconnect between sanctimonious rhetoric of equality and yet denying civil rights to Gay people, makes him another perverter of the Gospel of grace and love at the same time that he says he loves everybody. And, unlike most professing Christian homophobes, he is charming, and charm goes a long way!

"Christianity" isn't merely what you say, but Christianity is contingent on the love you show in your words and in your life to the world. Christians are people of good will toward everybody, including our enemies! That doesn't mean that we have to "like" anybody. It simply means that we are to put another's feelings and interests ahead of our own regardless of how we feel.

To be fervent in showing and living out that Gospel of grace and love is wonderful and laudable! To be fervent in preaching and practicing the false gospel of legalism, perfectionism, and exclusion, regardless of the sanctimony and charm of the person delivering that message, is downright heresy!

Please see these next two clips:

HERE IS THE VIDEO OF RICK WARREN'S PRAYER AT PRESIDENT OBAMA'S INAUGURATION. (I must say, however, that at least, unlike Gene Robinson, he had the strength of character to invoke Jesus' name in his prayer!) His "strength of character" has to do with his invoking the name of Jesus and, thereby, not trying to be a people-pleaser like Robinson, but obviously it has nothing to do with his distortion of Christianity into another form of legalism and condemnation that is antithetical to anything Jesus ever taught!

[As you know by now, I have tremendous respect for Don Charles who blogs at Christ, The Gay Martyr. He emailed me the following statement that he gave me permission to include here. I in no way wanted to be misunderstood or give the impression that I respect Rick Warren when I used the term, "strength of character" in the above context. What I meant by that term in this context is what I mentioned in my post. Nevertheless, Don Charles wrote me the following, and I do want to include his statement here, in case there is any misunderstanding: "I would never describe Rick Warren as having 'strength of character', Jerry. Never! We'll have to disagree on that much. Invoking the Lord's name isn't enough to vouch for character. I surely understand what you're trying to say, but we can’t forget that Warren's devotion to God is entirely superficial. He doesn’t fear God, not in the least, or he wouldn’t twist doctrine the way he does. He feigns piety because that's part of how he wields power over his gullible followers. Disturbingly, I suspect he actually equates himself to the Christ! What Gene Robinson did reflects poorly on his own character, but it doesn’t make Rick Warren’s look better in any way, shape or form."]
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Saturday, January 17, 2009


Believe me, it would never happen, but my good friend, Don Charles, who blogs at "Christ The Gay Martyr", asked me to write what I would say if I were in the place of Bishop Gene Robinson and was asked to give a prayer at Barack Obama's inauguration ceremonies. What follows is what I would say, and that I hope every Christian, non-Christian, LGBT and Straight person takes to heart:

The Church, made up of the ecclesia, "the called out ones," called to follow the model Jesus gave us to be agents of God's grace in the world, has all too often gotten it wrong when it comes to its rhetoric and treatment of assorted minority groups, those discounted by the larger society, and it and many professing Christians are continuing to make the same unGodly mistake.

The Church as Jesus initiated it was never meant to be enmeshed with the larger society, but was, in fact, called to be counter-cultural, to preach and live out the only Gospel that is to be found in Christianity: the Gospel of grace (God's unmerited favor to all of us), faith (trusting God over and above seen circumstances), love toward all people, peace, reconciliation, and inclusiveness of all of God's children. There is no other Gospel!

Since most of the institutional Church enmeshed itself with the secular social, economic, and political forces within society, we can see that the larger culture has affected the Church far more than the Church has affected the larger culture. Indeed, the Church has all too often taken on the values and prejudices of that larger culture, and the results have sullied the Church, Christianity, the mission and work of Jesus, and has done inestimable damage to assorted disenfranchised and marginalized people.

We have seen this tragedy played out regarding the treatment of women, the treatment of African slaves, the treatment of Black people in South Africa, the treatment of African Americans in the U.S, and the treatment of God's lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender children.

Rather than be the arm of Jesus in teaching, practicing, and enjoining the secular forces within society to embody love and include everyone as equals, the Church and its functionaries have all too often adopted and encouraged hateful and exclusionary prejudices of many in the larger society. Indeed, all too many churches and clergy have even encouraged and provided religious justifications for hateful prejudices and hateful acts of discrimination to the point where those clergy and their many followers have fomented and, indeed, encouraged the oppression that has caused untold shame upon the very Person of Christ, as well as shame on His Church, and have caused untold sufferings and even deaths to their targets of oppression and persecution.

By aligning itself with reactionary social, economic, and political forces within society, the Church has ceased to be an instrument of God's grace in the world, and has continued to lose sight of the fact that every time Jesus dealt with the religious and political leaders of His time it turned out badly for Him as it did for all other leaders of the fledgling Church.

You see, the Church has always been meant to be set apart from the values of the world. Indeed, it has been called upon to confront those values that in any way sully the name of God, sully the Gospel message of love, and that in any way oppress any of God's children, God's creation, whom God created in God's own image.

It does Jesus, the Church, and Christianity itself a grave injustice to in any way cozy up to those who discriminate and seek to disenfranchise any of God's children. Once the Church aligns itself in any way with prejudice and oppression, whether in "religious" or secular society, it is no longer the "Church" as it fails to in any way represent Jesus. To the degree that the Church enmeshes itself with oppressive secular and/or "religious" powers, it's to that degree that it not only loses its moral compass, loses its credibility, loses its reason for being, but also ceases to be the Church, but becomes a mere handmaiden to oppressive forces within secular society, thereby contradicting and contravening the very life, message, ministry, and meaning of Jesus in this world; the Church itself becomes an instrument of oppression that the world would be far better off without.

The early Church was horribly persecuted by oppressive political and "religious" forces, and that's the way it was always meant to be! To have a "peaceful" "Church," to have a self-satisfied, smug, discriminatory bunch of people who call themselves "Christians," is not what Jesus had in mind, and is not what Jesus' Church has ever been.

And to the degree that the Church partakes in any way in the discrimination against God's gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender children, or in the discrimination against any other group of people for that matter, it ceases to be the Church, as it has ceased in any way to represent Jesus.

To the degree we don't stand up for those who are perversely viewed as "outsiders," targets of oppression, it's to that degree that we cease to be a "Church" or "Christians," and become actors playing a part that the culture defines for us as being appropriate for "Christians" to play. All those who profess to be Christians must understand the basic Gospel message that Jesus and the Apostles left us, and that is that we are to love one another unconditionally, and never judge, condemn, or discriminate against other people.

There is no other Gospel to be found in Christianity! Most of us learned this hard truth during the civil rights era for African Americans, and although the remnants of that era are still with us, and we would be foolish to deny that fact, we have come a long way regarding the acquisition of full and equal civil and sacramental rights for African Americans. And just as virtually all the White churches tragically played the villain during this struggle, much as White churches did with the gross sin of Apartheid in South Africa, most have now come to see how wrong they were by fomenting, encouraging, and justifying the oppression of their Black sisters and brothers.

Now, all of the churches, all professing Christians, and all people who view themselves as decent people, are faced with another similar choice: Do they play the role equivalent to the White Supremacists who felt that Black people, by virtue of their skin color, were inferior to White people by claiming that Straight people by virtue of their emotional/sexual orientation are superior to Gay people? Haven't we learned our lessons by now?

It is up to all of us, Christians and non-Christians alike, to live out the law of love toward all of our brothers and sisters which certainly includes our Gay brothers and sisters, knowing full well that God created each and every one of us in God's image.

And we now, at the time of this new political era in the United States, face a cold turkey choice: are we going to keep viewing and calling ourselves decent, upright, and good people and still advocate and/or practice discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people, or any other group of people for that matter, or are we going to be decent and Godly people, be we Christians or not, and embrace all of God's children?

The choice is ours to make! However, we must recognize that our final decision will reflect both our decency and Godliness as human beings, as well as whether or not the Church that preaches Jesus' name does so cynically or does so genuinely by living the Law of Love that summarizes the whole of Scripture and the Christian life.

We must live the decent and loving life that we are all called upon to live, be we Christian or not, lest we as members of a society that presumes to call itself "civil," degenerates into the madness of continually having a war of all against all that will still be encouraged, affirmed, and blessed by people many of whom have the temerity to view themselves as "decent" and "Godly."

Our choice as to how we treat each other, and whether or not we demand and realize the acquisition of full and equal civil rights for all citizens of the United States, will define who we truly are as human beings, will define the very future of our Democratic Republic, and will define the very legacy that we and this new Presidential Administration will leave to future generations.
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Thursday, January 15, 2009


Regarding the Leather Event during the inaugural weekend in Washington, D.C., the tragedy is that a transformation of consciousness that is very much needed regarding the simple issue of public relations, where we must do our best to win the hearts and minds of potential Straight allies, seems to elude the organizers and participants of such public displays. Such public displays representing a rather small subculture within the Gay and the Straight cultures is socially and politically counterproductive.

For many Gay people to adapt to what is unarguably second class citizenship, they feel that they have to rationalize their second class status by seeming to take pride in that second class citizenship, rather than meaningfully fight against it. And, in the same vein, many also use pejorative epithets as self-identifiers in the specious attempt to show that pride in second class citizenship, which is one way that is used to maintain their ego integrity in the face of grinding oppression, and helping to maintain the fantasy of having some semblance of control against the damaging psychological and social assaults of the oppressor.

The Leather community is a perfectly viable subculture within both the Gay and the Straight communities. However, to publicly parade themselves as being sexual hedonists and fetishists, during the inaugural weekend no less, does little more than play right into the hands of the oppressors who get off on condemning Gay people with the vicious stereotypes that such public displays represent, and which provide the very ammunition that the oppressors use to convince people of good will to see Gay people as "sex obsessed hedonists," "the other," "deviants," and "a danger to our children."

Largely because of the fear of teasing the animals and the fear of bringing home the fact that they are powerless second class citizens by direct confrontation, all too many Gay people engage in counterproductive public displays and do not meaningfully fight against their oppression.

By seeming to revel in their second class status by using such assorted epithets as "queer," "dyke," and "fag" as self-identifiers against which I have often written, and by in your face hedonistic public events, such as this upcoming one celebrating Leather and other fetishists, occurring during the weekend right before the Presidential inauguration no less, they are, in addition to enjoying themselves, whether they are aware of it or not, "condemning the condemners," so that those condemners can't psychologically hurt them as much as they fear would otherwise be the case.

Rather than risk demanding an equal piece of the pie in society and then being rejected, they first offend and reject those who are in the position to give it to them so that they are not threateningly confronted with the terrible reality of their being humiliated and disgraced, as would be the consequence of the requirement that LGBT people and allies fight for full and equal civil rights, just as African Americans did during the African American civil rights era.

At a time when full and equal civil rights are systematically denied to all LGBT citizens, it's so important to meaningfully fight for those rights in a socially and politically sophisticated way. That is, such measures can be used as boycotting homophobic businesses; boycotting and continuously picketing homophobic churches; writing letters and opinion pieces to newspapers, and speaking out about the need for full and equal rights in any and every venue possible.

Only then will the counterproductive public displays of hedonism that play right into the hands of the most strident homophobes be seen as just as destructive as were the White Supremacist stereotypes of African Americans portrayed not that long ago by all too many African American actors in films prior to the African American Civil Rights era.
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Tuesday, January 13, 2009


I think that Don Charles's comment pertaining to yesterday's post deserves a post of its own. His comment is right on the money, and deserves as wide a distribution as possible.

This is his comment:

As I said when I emailed you privately, no one can seriously believe that Barack Obama intended to have Gene Robinson participate in his inaugural events. The invitation was offered for no other reason than the ongoing criticism Obama suffered for tapping Rick Warren as invocation pastor.

I fear the criticism will die away now, and that shouldn't happen. Gene Robinson's inclusion (at an event leading up to the inaugural, not the inaugural itself) is meant to somehow "balance" Warren ideologically, but there's no way a reasonable man and a hatemonger can balance each other! Not to mention the fact that they'll be appearing at different ceremonies held days apart!

I hope Bishop Robinson uses this opportunity to speak out on behalf of LGBT equality, and to stress that Christianity isn't religion for bigots. Many of Barack Obama's "Bible believing" supporters don't understand this. If Robinson acts like Joseph Lowery and so many others involved in Obama's installment, reveling in its historic nature and sponging off the glory and fanfare of the moment, then he will have wasted his opportunity.

The troubling issues that Rick Warren's high-profile participation raises are far more important than celebrating "the first Black President." An event that should represent a triumph for the Civil Rights movement has been tarnished because of the President-Elect's disregard for Civil Rights. What a mockery of Martin Luther King's vision of equality for all . . . that's the brutal truth of the matter, regardless of who doesn't want to hear it!
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Monday, January 12, 2009


The first openly gay Episcopal bishop will offer a prayer at the Lincoln Memorial at an inaugural event for President-elect Barack Obama.

The selection of New Hampshire Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson for Sunday's event follows weeks of criticism from gay-rights groups over Obama's decision to have the Rev. Rick Warren give the invocation at his Jan. 20 inauguration.

Warren backed the ban on same-sex marriage that passed in his home state of California on the November ballot.

[Please see here for the full article.]

Bishop Robinson is quoted as saying that "he doesn't believe Obama invited him in response to the Warren criticism but said his inclusion won't go unnoticed by the gay and lesbian community."

I can't definitively assess this statement one way or the other, but it is instructive to see that after so much revulsion that was expressed by LGBT people and allies at the Rick Warren invitation to the inaugural event, that Obama then saw fit to add Bishop Robinson to be part of his inauguration.

The more that ignorant and/or hateful professing Christian homophobes are confronted for their distortions and downright lies about the lives of LGBT people, and their mean-spirited attempts to deprive Gay people of the same civil rights that they, themselves, enjoy; who seek to impose their warped understandings of "Christianity" onto others and the society at large, the more likely it will be that they will soon lose their undeserved credibility. Then, Christianity will once again be seen as, to use C.S. Lewis' phrase, "a reasonable faith" that won't be as likely to offend decent, intelligent, and sensitive human beings which, all too often, has not been the case.

No Christian, clergy or not, seeks to deprive others of civil rights; spreads misinformation and lies about others; in any way condemns others; in any way seeks to impose their own reactionary understandings of the Bible onto others; in any way seeks to identify and justify their own preconceived prejudices with the Gospel of grace and love.

And all Christians, and all other decent people, must expose these wolves in sheep's clothing for the ignorant and/or hateful people that they are, so that even a "liberal" like Obama never has any conceivable excuse to elevate any clergy to prominence who preach the false gospel of legalism, perfectionism, and exclusion as he did with Rick Warren.
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Saturday, January 10, 2009


An article appeared today that refutes the seemingly inflated figures that have been touted regarding the percentage of African Americans who voted for Prop. 8 in California. The article is entitled, Prop. 8 Exit Polling of African-Americans Way Off, Experts Say.

A telling paragraph from that article is the following:

Perhaps surprisingly, the study also revealed that partisanship and ideology trumped the fact of knowing someone who is openly LGBT. About two-thirds of the state’s self-identified conservatives knew someone who was gay and about 4 out of five of them voted for the measure – the same exact ratio of conservatives who voted for Prop. 8 but didn’t know an openly LGBT person. Republicans demonstrated a similar pattern, with about four out of five of them voting to pass the ban regardless of whether they knew anyone who was out or not.

I wrote the following email reply to a good friend of mine who sent this article to me, and this is what I wrote in response to a major thesis of the article:

"Perhaps surprisingly, the study also revealed that partisanship and ideology trumped the fact of knowing someone who is openly LGBT." This is a disturbing finding, and one that refutes my previous contention that the more LGBT people come out in the media the less likely will be parental rejection. Since ideology trumps familiarity, and that it's virtually impossible to change one's ideology, we will likely have to wait for the next generation of people for there to be any real hope of getting full and equal rights. But, of course, it doesn't absolve us of the need to continue fighting for those rights, so as to reaffirm in the minds of younger people the fact that there are Christians who are Gay positive and that there is absolutely no inconsistency between being Gay and being a Christian. That's one major way of refuting the homophobic clergy's assertions, and causing them to lost credibility among those on the fence as well as those not yet tainted with their lies and vituperation.

I wrote an article entitled, It's Not About Issues, where I dealt with the Reactionary mind set of those who discriminate, whether that discrimination is against LGBT people, or women, or African Americans, or immigrants, or whatever else is the minority group that seems to be the most vulnerable and, hence, the perceived "safest" one against which to discriminate and persecute. And, when it is no longer considered socially and politically appropriate to discriminate against a given minority group, those with a Reactionary mind-set will seek out another minority group that it feels is safe to oppress.

The following is an excerpt from this article:

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 of, the Power Elite.

The Power Elite is comprised of the people who have a vested interest in the status quo that 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 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.

When I protested a "Yes on 8" campaign that was held at one of our local churches prior to the passage of Prop. 8, there was a man standing next to me who held a sign saying, "Yes on 8." He had the temerity to tell me that one of his best friends was a lesbian with whom he frequently went fishing, and who greatly helped him out when his house was partially destroyed by a fire.

Yet, he apparently saw no contradiction between his standing out there and vehemently advocating discrimination against Gay people with the extreme kindness of this woman whom he considered to be "a friend." Whether or not she knew of his traitorous behavior is not the issue as much as the fact that he was a hater, and he would most likely be a hater regardless of the minority group du jour that he could persecute.

Moreover, he was a faithful church attender, and claimed that God had changed his and his son's lives. It mystifies me how some people can ostensibly compartmentalize their lives to the point where they can betray a friend by seeking to discriminate against her and, on top of all that, consider him/herself a Christian who is called upon to love and be inclusive of all of God's children.

Is it any wonder that so many LGBT people resent Christians and Christianity? If all I saw was such homophobic haters and traitors who parade themselves as "Christians," I'd reject Christians and Christianity as well!

All one has to do is read the words of Jesus in the Gospels to see that these haters are deluding themselves and seeking to delude others by claiming to be Christians.

And, my greatest contempt goes to homophobic clergy who have irreparably sullied the very name of "Christian," by preaching hate in the name of the Prince of Peace; by preaching exclusion in contradiction to Jesus' preaching and living the Gospel of grace and inclusiveness; by judging (consigning to heaven or hell) others when Jesus expressly forbids us to judge any of God's children; by preaching discrimination and vilification of others that all too often leads to lives lived with unnecessary guilt and shame, fractured families, LGBT children disowned by their parents, suicides, assaults, and murders of LGBT people and those perceived to be LGBT people. And many of those who assault and kill LGBT people do so thinking that by so doing they are doing God a favor!

The major way we can overcome religious based hateful ideology is by confronting homophobic clergy and churches by picketing and boycotting their churches; by continuing to hammer home the fact that Christianity in no way condemns same-sex love; by reinforcing the fact that Christians in no way discriminate against anyone, or preach against others acquiring full and equal civil and sacramental rights!

There is absolutely no Gospel justification for discriminating against LGBT people; no Gospel justification for seeking to deny civil and sacramental rights to LGBT people; no justification for homophobic clergy to be given any credibility by anyone!
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Wednesday, January 7, 2009


In this month's edition of In the Life, there's an excellent video entitled, "Ties That Bind," that is well worth watching.

The programs on this video range from the destructive nature of "ex-gay ministries," to the very thoughtful dialogue between Rev. Gene Robinson and Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum, to the struggle of Gay Muslims, especially those living in Muslim countries.

This video highlights the destruction that warped, distorted, religion and "Christianity" have visited upon countless numbers of people.

Judaism and Christianity are about "love" and "justice" [Unfortunately, I'm not competent to speak about Islam.]; about taking care of the vulnerable, the poor and the disenfranchised in a spirit of humility.

However, we all too often see in the pubic square, in the media, those claiming to speak for Christianity who have absolutely no knowledge of the claims of Christ upon our lives, and who seemingly delight in condemning the most vulnerable people in society.

Such hateful people are not Christians, regardless of how many times they go to church or all the "God talk" they speak, but are ravenous wolves, many of whom would likely feel as comfortable as Brown Shirts as they do as homophobic professing "Christians" and "clergy."

Anyone can call him/herself a Christian, but a professing Christian's homophobic and discriminatory rhetoric and behavior betrays that person to be not a Christian but an agent of the devil! And those who call themselves "Christians," and who remain silent amidst the oppression visited by these wolves upon LGBT people, are aiding and abetting the very work of the devil!

No Christian is capable of vilifying vulnerable people, or shouting hateful epithets against any of God's children! These pseudo-Christians are, by so doing, demeaning the sovereignty of God, just as they demean God's LGBT children; show lack of faith in God in not honoring all of God's creation!

They seek to change and condemn what God has made, and commit the most grievous sin imaginable, the sin of pride, whereby they are, in essence, saying that they know what God wants, and that they know better than God, and that God makes mistakes.

The fact is that God is sovereign, and God doesn't make any mistakes!

To be an LGBT person is to have been gifted by God, and all the hateful pronouncements and epithets to the contrary in the world made by those wolves, who ignorantly and sanctimoniously quote distorted and erroneously interpreted verses from the Bible to justify their preconceived prejudices, can never undo that fact!

Please click on this link to watch the video.
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Sunday, January 4, 2009


Sister Paula is a transgender preacher who has been out since 1963. I have had occasion to talk about her in a post I did several months ago, and I want to show you this video where she speaks of people "without natural affection" (a biblical phrase that is often ignorantly and despicably distorted to refer to Gay people), and the tremendous damage those parents "without natural affection" do to their LGBT children.

In the following video, Sister Paula talks about the need for authenticity in living one's life, and certainly in living the Christian life, and she uses her own example of being a transgender Christian. In this connection, I like Troy Perry's statement that it's important to "keep the main thing the main thing," meaning that one's Christian commitment, one's commitment to Christ, must transcend everything else in one's life.

All too often, LGBT people and Straight people identify themselves by their sexual orientation and/or sexual identity, whereas one's sexual orientation and/or identity represents only one part of the whole mosaic of what constitutes a human being. When one is a Christian, a follower of Jesus, that fact must be the prism through which one sees the world, other people, and his/her many God-given gifts, not the least of which is the capacity to love another human being, be that person of the same or opposite sex.

It's important to never let other people define our realities or define our worth, as we are not answerable to other people for being who God made us to be, but we are only answerable to God! Sister Paula decided many years ago that she would live a life of authenticity, and since she has come out her God-given ministry has touched, and undoubtedly salvaged, literally thousands of lives.

Yes, God makes His transgender children too! What is considered a "mistake" by many people is a "treasure," indeed a gift, in the eyes of God Who doesn't make any mistakes! As the Apostle Peter said to Cornelius: "...God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean." (Acts 10:28)

Sister Paula's ministry has undoubtedly saved the lives of countless LGBT people, and she has been a wonderful role model for all transgender people, and especially for transgender Christians. She and her ministry have blessed countless numbers of people over these many years, and I want to share some of her preaching with you in the hopeful expectation that you, too, will be blessed by what she has to say.

Her preaching on the need for all of us to be authentic is seen in the following video:

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Saturday, January 3, 2009


I have traveled the length and breadth of Alabama, Mississippi and all the other southern states. On sweltering summer days and crisp autumn mornings, I have looked at the South's beautiful churches with their lofty spires pointing heavenward. I have beheld the impressive outlines of her massive religious education buildings. Over and over I have found myself asking: "What kind of people worship here? Who is their God? Where were their voices when the lips of Governor Barnett dripped with words of interposition and nullification? Where were they when Governor Wallace gave a clarion call for defiance and hatred? Where were their voices of support when bruised and weary Negro men and women decided to rise from the dark dungeons of complacency to the bright hills of creative protest?" [Quoted from Letter from a Birmingham Jail, by Martin Luther King.]

Don Charles, who blogs at "Christ, The Gay Martyr," wrote a superb two part post entitled, Echoes From a Birmingham Jail that must be read by everyone who is genuinely concerned with full and equal civil rights for LGBT people!

Don Charles beautifully shows how the analysis, insights, and feelings of Martin Luther King regarding the African American Civil Rights movement parallel the current struggle for LGBT Civil Rights, and what we can learn from the lessons that King taught and practiced in that movement. The relevance of the struggle for African American civil rights must not be lost on the Gay rights movement, as the dynamics and the necessary transformation of consciousness that made the success of that movement possible must be seen in the same light that King saw if full and equal LGBT rights are to be acquired in the foreseeable future.

Here's an excerpt from Don Charles' superb two part post that I hope will whet your appetite to read both parts of his post in their entirety:

Dr. King shared my annoyance with those who counsel the disenfranchised to wait for justice. Wait until a court victory is certain! Wait until there’s less bigotry in the culture! Wait until the political winds start blowing in your direction! He heard all those kinds of warnings. MLK certainly wasn’t blind to the political realities of his day, but as a minister of the Gospel, he saw himself spearheading a moral crusade.

He knew that a moral crusade couldn’t align itself to a partisan political timetable and retain its credibility. He also knew that African-American equality would never be a priority for politicians counting on the votes of racist constituents for re-election. In 1963, that category included John F. Kennedy, the man Barack Obama has been frequently compared to. Dr. King and his Civil Rights marchers couldn't count on President Kennedy to do the right thing. They had no choice but to crash his dinner party. They had to create tension in the Kennedy administration and lay groundwork for progress on racial issues. This is what LGBT "leadership" fails to grasp. They turn up their noses at the idea of protest rallies and marches. They seem to think the Democratic Party can and will do most of our work for us. When did "career politician" and "Gay Rights activist" become interchangeable terms?
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Friday, January 2, 2009


This article, Before Obama, DC Welcomes Leather Fetishists: Annual Gay Leather Weekend Coincides With Obama Inaugural Festivities, hammers home the need for LGBT Rights organizations to help in what we used to call "a transformation of consciousness" in the 1960's and 1970's.

Thousands of tourists pouring into Washington, D.C. for President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration will be sharing the nation's capital with a few thousand predominantly gay leather fetishists, in town for their annual convention.

Next January 16th, 17th and 18th brings the 25th annual Mid-Atlantic Leather Weekend to Washington, D.C. Hosted by the city's Centaur Motorcycle Club, "a group of men with an enthusiastic interest in motorcycles, leather and other men," the event is expected to draw between 2,000 and 3,000 attendees, according to spokesman Larry Barat.

I can well understand boycotting Obama's inauguration, given his invitation to Rick Warren to give the inaugural prayer. However, this event for "leather fetishists," or those who seek to attend this event for whatever reason, again trivialize Gay people in the eyes of potential allies by feeding into the main stereotype that has been a justification for LGBT oppression: That Gay people are basically sexually addicted hedonists!

At a time when so much is at stake in the fight for full equality of LGBT people, why would such an event be held in Washington, D.C. just before the Presidential Inauguration is being held? Everyone knew that the inaugural event would take place on Tuesday, January 20th, so why couldn't this event be scheduled for another weekend other than the one where it would get publicity that again negatively stereotypes Gay people?

I'm not in any way against the Leather Community, as I think it's a viable expression of sexuality! However, I am against such a display about the same time as the inauguration as it will merely reinforce the stereotypes that religious and other homophobes have been propagating about Gay people.

The fact that there are many Straight people into Leather will likely be lost on the general public in favor of them concentrating on what most will see, not merely as a Gay event, but as "those perverts who are corrupting our children and our society." Such an event will not only provide more fuel for the engine of hate emanating from all sorts of "religious" and other homophobes, but will likely help convince many of those who listen to homophobic rhetoric that what they are being told is the truth.

At a time when we are trying to win the hearts and minds of the decent, non-hateful, people, and enable them to see Gay people as fully human beings who have needs and aspirations just like them, and who deserve full and equal civil rights just as they possess, such a display as the annual convention in the "nation's capital with a few thousand predominantly gay leather fetishists" is counterproductive, to say the least.

Whether they are aware of it or not, those who organized this convention to be held in Washington, D.C. on the weekend right before the inauguration are traitors who are sabotaging the struggle for civil rights!
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