Friday, February 27, 2009


...the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) task force has recommended a policy that will be considered at their biannual convention in August. The proposed policy would allow local congregations to decide whether or not those in “lifelong, monogamous, same-gender relationships” would be allowed to lead as clergy. [For the full text, see here.]

It must be noted that the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is the "liberal" wing of the Lutheran denomination! Even here, we see that this "liberal" wing doesn't have the guts to do what is right and, as a denomination, blanketly allow openly Gay clergy into its ranks!

To merely allow local congregations to decide whether or not to allow openly Gay people to be pastors shows both bureaucratic and spiritual cowardice (called in bureaucracies "passing the buck"), as well as lack of commitment to social justice issues that is incumbent upon all decent people, especially Christians, to possess!

As I've often written, one can be a decent person, in favor of equality for all, and not be a Christian! However, it must be hammered home that every single Christian is a decent person who is in favor of equality for all; if a professing Christian, clergy or not, is not a decent person who is in favor of equality for all, then he or she is not a Christian, regardless of how many times he/she attends church or how many times he/she professes to be a Christian!

As Jesus says: "Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?" (Matthew 7:16) To ask the question is to answer it!

All one has to do is merely read the words attributed to Jesus in the New Testament to see both the manifestations of a Christian and how the discerning between a Christian and a non-Christian is a no-brainer!

Christians are to be harmless; show unconditional love to others, even to one's enemies; trust God over and above seen circumstances; never judge or condemn any of God's children; be agents of God's grace in this world!

To do otherwise, is to disqualify oneself from being a Christian or even considered a Christian by others!

This is not to say that we don't all need to grow in these areas! However, we are to struggle to practice what Jesus teaches us about love and compassion; we are to never turn a blind eye to, or pass the buck regarding, discrimination or injustice visited upon any of God's children!

And when a "liberal" or any other Christian denomination seeks to waffle on any social justice matter, it shows the signs of a moribund bureaucracy that cares far more for its "reputation" and financial situation than it does for justice for others!

I'd much rather deal with reactionary haters because we know where they stand and they can be counted on to be consistent in their hateful and exclusionary stands! However, with "liberals," it seems that all too many are interested in "safety" at the expense of "justice"; have a disdain for any type of acrimony, even if that acrimony will eventually lead to equality for all of God's children.

No civil rights struggle is going to be successful without acrimony! Disdaining confrontation with the haters, and those professing Christians who disdain Jesus' values, avails us nothing in winning full and equal civil and sacramental rights for LGBT people!

In fact, trying to make nice with these haters (falsely assumed to be a manifestation of "Christian love") is to merely empower them and justify their oppression of others in the name of God! Moreover, this kind of perversion of "Christian love" is more than likely a mere cover for physical and/or moral cowardice!

There's no room for "I'm OK and you're OK" in any civil rights struggle, especially when God's name is constantly invoked by the haters, many of whom even have the temerity to oppress others in God's name!

But, then again, since when did the ELCA or most denominations within the institutional Church ever commit themselves to full equality for LGBT people?

Most all denominations have always played the caboose in civil rights struggles, taking their cues from such movements within secular society; by clergy, such as Martin Luther King, who operated apart from all denominations, especially those dominated by White people. And it was only when civil rights were won in secular society that most clergy and their followers within denominations "saw the light" and followed suit! And that speaks very poorly of, and is a profound tragedy for, the institutional Church and the reputation of Christianity!

To enable the denial of qualified known Gay clergy in any way, by direct fiat as we see in the Roman Catholic Church and in reactionary protestant denominations, or by ignoring the issue entirely, or passing the buck as we are now seemingly seeing in the ELCA, is both thwarting God's will for the ministry that God has called many of his Gay children to do, as well being a direct offense against God!
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Wednesday, February 25, 2009


God bless Lance Black!

"If Harvey Milk were alive today, I think he’d want me to say to all of the gay and lesbian children out there who have been told that they are less than by their churches or by the government or by their families that you are beautiful, wonderful creatures who have value,” he said, looking straight into the camera. “No matter what anybody tells you, God does love you and that very soon I promise you ... you will have equal rights federally across this great nation of ours.”

I just pray that every young (and older) Gay person internalizes these words from Lance Black! [Pictured.]

This winner of the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for the film, "Milk," not only spoke from his heart, but spoke the truth that needs to be learned and kept in the hearts of every young and older LGBT person!

And by incorporating those words, there will hopefully arise a fire in the belly in all Gay people and in all decent people, especially those who profess to be Christians, to no longer allow anyone to be treated as a second class citizen who is denied dignity, respect, and equal rights afforded to every other citizen in the United States and in all countries that presume to call themselves "civilized."

I strongly urge you to see the film, "Milk," if you haven't already seen it!

The kind of activism exhibited by Harvey Milk, Rev. Troy Perry, Frank Kameny, Barbara Gittings, Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon, and a whole host of other activists who caught the vision that being Gay is just as normal as is being Straight; who refused to believe or feel shamed by the ignorant and hateful stereotypes with which Gay people were and are branded; who absolutely refused to heed the ignorant and hateful words coming from the mouths and pens of assorted clergy and mental health professionals; who had and have the guts to confront the ignorance and hatred that seeks to inculcate shame and self-loathing in all too many LGBT people, must be continued by the current and next generation of Gay people and allies so that equal rights becomes a reality; the truth of Jesus' words rings loudly and clearly in the lives of all of God's children: "If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." (John 8:36)
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Tuesday, February 24, 2009


In an excellent, albeit tragic article by Deb Price entitled: "Educators Fail Gay Students Of Color, she shows how nothing has really changed over the years regarding the taunting and cruelty visited upon young Gay people in our schools.

Some of the key findings related in her article are:

• Biased barbs: More than 80 percent of LGBT youth of color often heard the phrase "that's so gay" or similar uses of "gay" at school to put people down. Two-thirds heard "faggot," "dyke" and other anti-gay name-calling.

In a particularly alarming finding, more than half of these students said they had heard teachers, principals or other adults at their school make homophobic remarks.

• Ignored cries for help: Only about one-fifth of students reported that school officials "most of the time" or "always" stepped in when anti-gay remarks were made in their presence.

Report co-author Joseph Kosciw says some educators are sending the message that anti-gay remarks "aren't just tolerated in school but acceptable."

Only about one in 10 students of color said other students stepped in when they heard anti-gay comments.

It is unacceptable for teachers and administrators in our schools to provoke or even allow homophobic statements and actions to exist in our schools; any teacher or administrator who allows harassment or physical attacks upon students for any reason, such as that of sexual orientation, or perceived sexual orientation, must be removed from any position of responsibility where children are concerned.

The allowing of such teachers and administrators who turn a blind eye to such assaults, be they verbal or physical, or who help foment these assaults by their actions and/or inactions, betrays the fact that such teachers and administrators have no place dealing with children, as what they do by their hateful responses, or hateful lack of responses, is nothing short of "Child Abuse."

And the victims of this Child Abuse are both the Gay kids as well as the Straight kids who are taught that it's OK to discriminate against others, thereby helping to assure that such hatred is continued on to the next generation of adults.

It is up to parents and others of good will who really care about the welfare of all children to agitate to get rid of such offenders in our schools who so abuse children!
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Saturday, February 21, 2009


Check out these two videos of Utah State Senator Chris Buttars:

Now, as ignorant and as hateful as are such statements as Buttars made, it doesn't take a genius to figure out why so many people take these kinds of sentiments seriously, and why Gay people are still viewed as second class citizens and why DADT is still on the books, as is DOMA, neither of which, particularly the latter, is likely to go away any time soon. And, to make matters exponentially worse, there are many "victims" of this hate who are seeming to do their best to give credibility to even the most unhinged hatred spewing from the mouths of virulent homophobes.

Now check out these videos, if you have the stomach for them, or at least read this summary of this obscenity that merely serves to show up Gay people as maladjusted freaks who are "the other," "the deviant," "the outsider" that seems to lend credence to the hateful spewing of the homophobic haters of the world.

Unless there is strong grass roots and organizational revulsion expressed at these traitors and saboteurs of the cause of equal rights; unless self-loathing closet cases, or those in denial, or those who identify being Gay with being sexually obsessed hedonists and seek to paint all Gay people with that brush are confronted as not in any way representing the Gay communities, we can expect Gay people to remain consigned to second class citizenship and continue to be grateful (or not) for the crumbs of incrementalism tossed them by "liberal" politicians who would rather play it safe to enhance their careers than do the right thing and demand equal rights for all of America's citizens!

Such outrage won't be expressed by politicians such as President Obama (Who has made is crystal clear that he is not in favor of same-sex marriage; won't unilaterally rescind DADT, and is asking for further "discussion" of the issue.) or anyone else, but will have to come from within the Gay communities themselves for that revulsion and outrage to have any impact. In that way, and only in that way, will the Chris Buttars of the world never again feel free to spew such hate!

Buttars may have lost his seat on the Senate judicial committee he chaired, for calling Gay people as being equivalent to radical Muslims and the greatest threat that America faces. However, in my opinion, it would be a great mistake to think that he is alone in having those sentiments!

We are to make no mistake: Although he was somewhat punished for these egregious remarks, there are a whole host of people out there, most all of whom would and do vote against basic civil rights for Gay people, such as the right to marriage or even the right to federal civil rights protections, who feel exactly as he does.

And the tragic truth is that all too many Gay people are seemingly not sufficiently outraged to demand that civil rights organizations be far more aggressive in creating a climate where such hate speech would be totally unacceptable; initiating class action suits for defamation of character and deprivation of Constitutionally mandated rights of equality under the law; meaningfully organize through grassroots activism to demand full and equal civil rights as citizens of the United States.

And we can't afford to have Gay people painted with the brush of being "deviant freaks" by those in the media and even by some of those from within the bosom of the Gay communities themselves, if we really want equal rights to become a reality in the foreseeable future.

I urge everyone who is genuinely concerned about equal rights for LGBT people to express their revulsion both against the "religious," political, and media homophobic haters of America, and also against the traitors and saboteurs from within the Gay communities who are unwittingly or wittingly playing the role of agent provocateurs, providing what seems to be credible ammunition to the visible and often well-known homophobic haters of the world so that they can point to the traitors and the images they provide and then seemingly credibly castigate all Gay people as being a threat to "the family," "to children," "to our way of life," and thereby sound believable, even to potential Straight allies who are very much needed in this civil rights struggle!

No decent person, Gay or Straight, can idly sit by and allow to go unchallenged any encumbrance, whether emanating from without and/or from within the Gay communities, to the cause of equal rights!

For to do so is, by default, to align oneself with the lying purveyors of hate and their gullible followers who have hitherto prevented full and equal rights for Gay people from becoming a reality!
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Thursday, February 19, 2009


In the pathetic attempt to deal with the "homosexual problem" that they themselves, the Vatican and most of the clergy within the Roman Catholic Church, have created, "ministries" to Gay Roman Catholics are occurring within many parishes to help Gay people deal with their "problem" and thereby presumably remain closer to God.

I have absolutely no illusion that I am any closer to God than anyone else out there. Nor do I have any inside track as to what God wants for anyone else's life! Like the Pope and the clergy within the Roman Catholic Church, and the clergy within the Protestant churches, I am a mere human being, and I would never presume to speak for God when it comes to anyone else's life!

In what I view as a cynical attempt to "minister" to Gay Roman Catholics so as to keep the gullible and self-loathing Gay people and their families remaining in that Church, and hopefully attract other Gay people and their families to join the Roman Catholic Church, some parishes have begun facing this "issue" (an "issue" that they, themselves, have helped create) by initiating a program called "Courage." "Courage" views homosexuality as a "problem to be overcome!"

So, the Vatican helps define and create being Gay as a "problem"; seeks to deprive and/or rescind civil and human rights protections from Gay people; calls being Gay "intrinsically disordered"; calls Gay relationships "sinful." And many Roman Catholic clergy now have the chutzpa to create a "ministry" to deal with the fallout from their (and other toxic religions') nefarious creation, and their condemnation of the very essence of a person made in God's image; seek to do so by reinforcing the correctness of their equation of Gay "inclinations" as being "disordered" and Gay relations as being "sinful." And they call "Courage" a "ministry," and undoubtedly view that "ministry" as being a "loving outreach" to "disordered" people!

The Rev. James Fukes, pastor of St. Julia Catholic Church in Siler City, N.C., who will serve as the spiritual director for Courage, said the new ministry was added at the request of parishioners.

"There have been some people who asked for some ministry by the Catholic Church to help them deal with the challenges and difficulties they have and remain close to God," he said.

Next month, the Rev. Paul Check, national director of Courage, will lead a workshop in Raleigh for priests and lay leaders. A priest in the Diocese of Bridgeport, Conn., Check has written widely on homosexuality, including one article in which he suggests that gay men come from broken homes or grew up alienated from their fathers and overprotected by their mothers.

"For example, many men with same sex attraction lack hand-eye coordination and as a result were spurned or the subject of jokes by their fathers or the neighborhood boys because they could not play certain sports easily," Check wrote in the St. Austin Review's November-December 2008 edition.

[For the full article, see here.]

All people, Gay and Straight, regardless of the pull of inertia, must flee toxic religion like the plague that it is, at all costs, given the tremendous harm it does to people's psyches and, often, to their very lives!

"Christianity" is the epitome of showing love and compassion; respecting and honoring all of God's creation; being harmless and never judging or condemning others; trusting God over and above seen circumstances and one's own prejudices; being agents of God's grace in this world!

The pathetic assertion of Rev. Paul Check, the national director of "Courage" that being Gay results from "lack of hand-eye coordination and as a result [being] spurned or the subject of jokes by their fathers or the neighborhood boys because they could not play certain sports easily," or that "gay men come from broken homes or grew up alienated from their fathers and overprotected by their mothers," would be laughable if it weren't so pathetically ignorant, simplistic, and downright dangerous.

Frankly, if being Gay resulted from the old discarded theory that one is Gay because of having strong mothers and weak or absent fathers, then I suggest that virtually everyone would be Gay! And I can't even find the words to deal with the asserted "lack of hand-eye coordination" and the ensuing reactions and their relationship to being Gay. This kind of arrogant ignorance boggles the mind!

But such arrogant ignorance is part and parcel of the discrimination and hateful rhetoric visited upon Gay people and their families by assorted clergy in most denominations of the institutional Church as well as by all too many professing "Christians," by some politicians, and even by many youngsters in schools.

And, it's that kind of arrogant ignorance, if not downright hateful stupidity, that leads emotionally vulnerable Gay kids and adults to live lives of shame and self-loathing, resulting in lives lived in quiet and sometimes not so quiet desperation. All sorts of risk taking behaviors are likely to ensue, as well as many suicides. And the verbal and physical assaults and even murders of Gay people, or murders of people perceived to be Gay, can also be seen to be the direct result of such arrogant stupidity ironically spoken with oracular authority "in the name of God."

Regarding the Roman Catholic Church: here we have presumably celibate clergy, and many of their followers, whose Church has been rife with, and tainted by, assorted ephebophilia scandals by not too few of their clergy, and their systematic coverups by assorted Bishops (who, in my opinion, would be serving hard time in prison for criminal facilitation, if they were not associated with the powerful Roman Catholic Church) presuming to lecture the rest of us on criteria of "morality," as well as on love and sex!

Let's make it crystal clear: God doesn't make junk! God doesn't make mistakes! Being Gay is a gift from God! To deny or seek to suppress this gift is not honoring to God or to the person who seeks to repress this wonderful gift!

To be a Christian is to be a conduit for the love of God to others! And anyone who dares condemn in the name of God what God has made, is a heretic who, wittingly or unwittingly, is a tool of the devil!

Shun and run from toxic religion for your own sake and for the sake of all of God's children! And always trust your own experience and never let other people define your reality for you or put you into bondage to their ways of thinking!

So, who do you trust? God and the reality of your own awareness and life-experience OR those who invoke the name of God to justify their prejudices, and spew ignorant hate-speech couched in sanctimony, falsely invoking the name of God in so doing?

You decide!
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Monday, February 16, 2009


TD Jakes is certainly not the most homophobic preacher out there! However, he is certainly no friend to LGBT people either:

Jakes has called homosexuality a "brokenness" and says he would not hire a sexually active gay person. It is a common position among conservative religious leaders (Graham, for instance, called homosexuality a sin), but gay Americans would have no reason at all to consider Jakes their preacher.

[See here.]


On same-sex marriage, Jakes once told USA Today: "To date, I have not
seen scriptural authority that allows me to stand on behalf of God and
say I now pronounce you husband and husband, and wife and wife. This
is an issue the government is undecided about. The Bible is not."
[See here.]

Now, we have heard, concerning his son Jermaine:

The son of Bishop T.D. Jakes, pastor of the Potter’s House, faces a charge of indecent exposure related to an incident in a southern Dallas park last month, Dallas police said.

Jermaine Jakes, 29, is accused of exposing himself in front of an undercover Dallas police vice detective at Kiest Park, near West Kiest Boulevard and South Hampton Road, on the night of Jan. 3, police said.

He was detained at the scene and released.

[See here.]

[The Affidavit for Jermaine's arrest warrant is located here.]

In an irony that should not be lost by anyone, Bishop Jakes, in response to his son's arrest, in part said the following as part of a statement to his congregation:

"As parents, we occasionally feel that our children do not live up to our highest and best ideals. When they do not, we don't diminish our love for them as recompense for our disapproval... It is in moments like these that I am so grateful that we do not preach that we are the solution, but we look to Christ for resolution."

[See here.]

The full text of Bishop Jakes' statement is as follows:

"As parents, we occasionally feel that our children do not live up to our highest and best ideals. When they do not, we don't diminish our love for them as recompense for our disapproval. Like our children, we also are not infallible nor do we profess to be. Our now adult son Jermaine is 29, but when he was at home he was a recipient of correction, compassion and wise counsel. We hope that the light of what we believe will guide him through times of contradiction and moments of concern as he continues to mature.

In spite of the family pain we feel from this unfortunate situation, it has given us a chance to show him the same help, support, and restorative grace for which our family and church is noted. Through our ministry at The Potter’s House, as well as our own home, we have for years offered help in the time of need to all adults, our five children and other people’s children.

It is in moments like these that I am so grateful that we do not preach that we are the solution, but we look to Christ for resolution. So then, as a very human family with real issues, like many other people, we will draw from the same well of grace to which we have led others to drink and be refreshed."

[Thanks to Towleroad.]

Given the fact that the arrest occurred last month, it is questionable as to whether or not Bishop Jakes knew of his son's arrest at that time, or that his son was most likely Gay. Since his son was outed in this humiliating manner, and in a manner which highlights the disconnect between his support of his father's lucrative ministry on the one hand, and TD's homophobia as well as his presumed knowledge of his son's likely sexuality on the other, calls into question as to whether or not Bishop Jakes will reconcile his homophobia with his own son's presumed same-sex attractions.

Risk taking, such as soliciting sex in public parks, is one of the signs of embarrassment and self-loathing due to being surrounded by disapproval for one's sexuality as well as to the shame that has been falsely inculcated by all too many religious leaders.

In this case, the humiliation visited on Jermaine and the disconnect between having a presumably Gay son and at the same time preaching and advocating discrimination against Gay people by his father, places both son and father at a cross roads of their lives. And it will be interesting to see what choices each makes while facing their respective crossroad.

Jermaine now must decide whether to come out as a Gay man and divest himself from the toxic trappings of the false gospel that condemns what God has made, or do the Haggard dance where he states that he is merely a heterosexual with issues.

TD Jakes must now decide whether or not to continue to preach that Gay people are broken and that he would still not hire any sexually active Gay people, even though his son is presumably one. [I say "presumably" because given the many complexities of life, just because one wants furtive same-sex activity, in and of itself, though certainly suggestive of one's being Gay, does not in and of itself necessarily warrant the designation of "Gay," as being Gay encompasses both an emotional as well as a sexual component, and there isn't enough data in this one incident regarding the making of a definitive assessment regarding Jermaine's sexual orientation.]

However, it is certainly suggestive that Jermaine is Gay and both he and his father now share a time of decision: 1. Continue to live a lie and preaching and living lies regarding the lives of Gay people whose sexuality is one of God's gifts; 2. Changing their mind-sets, and divesting themselves of their prejudices, to allow that the grace of God trumps preconceived notions as to the basic normality and morality of being Gay; one can be Gay and be a mature Christian, as there is no inconsistency between the two.

Hence, both son and father are now in the position of realizing that being Gay is as normal as is being Straight, and is as equally life-affirming, and that they both were wrong in their respective mind-sets and prejudices prior to Jermaine's arrest.

Their respective decisions will determine for all the world to see whether they truly trust God Who makes us all in God's image; whether they truly trust in the grace of God as TD said after Jermaine's arrest came to light; whether or not they have the courage to publicly admit that they were wrong: the elder Jakes that he was preaching a false gospel of exclusion; the younger Jakes that he was living a lie and was inauthentic before God and his fellow human beings.

And, if Jermaine was in any way aiding and abetting his father's preaching of homophobia, that he gains the courage before God and his fellow human beings to publicly repent of that aid and comfort that he gave to the preaching of that false gospel.

Their respective decisions will show their true mettle, and might well be one of the best things that could have occurred to both of them on the one hand, and to so many people who listen to, and take to heart, the popular preaching of TD Jakes, be those listeners Gay or Straight.
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Thursday, February 12, 2009


It has always seemed remarkable to me how the Gospel of Jesus, the God Who preached and lived a life of unconditional love; Who told us that the only Commandments we were to live out are the love of God and the love of others, and we are to never judge or condemn anyone, could be perverted in such a way that many professing Christians see no contradiction between proclaiming themselves to be Christians on the one hand, and then advocating and preaching discrimination against Gay people, and historically other minority groups, on the other.

What could be the roots of this clear disconnect between the Gospel of grace and love on the one hand and the vituperation of many professing Christians directed against our LGBT sisters and brothers on the other hand? After wrestling with this problem for many years, I wrote an article entitled, "The Illusion of Certainty," which is an updated revision that is currently appearing in my weekly newspaper column entitled, "Christianity and Society," that appears in the newspaper, "The Sacramento Valley Mirror." I've reprinted that article below this introduction.

The allure of fundamentalism in religious and other circles bespeaks: 1. An intolerance of ambiguity that is a direct threat to people fearful of life as it exists and who want to hearken back to a fantasy life of "tradition" and "safety" that they are falsely assured once existed in the past. 2. The need of many "religious" leaders to create sources of potential financial contributors to "the cause" that the creation of out-groups facilitates. 3. The creation of "out-groups," "enemies," so that in-group solidarity can be strengthened and that such a creation helps fulfill. 4. The creation of "the other," "the deviant," "the enemy," that helps in strengthening some people's fragile egos and weak self-concepts, by seeking to align with others of like mind so that feelings of moral superiority are strengthened, and the externalization of internalized rage, born of assorted sources of frustrations in their lives that cause that rage, is given a target that is viewed as being safe, and even justified as "Godly," to persecute.

The very obvious irrationality of the Prince of Peace being used as a vehicle to justify such overt discrimination and oppression that, in turn, creates all sorts of infliction of harm, suffering, suicides, assaults, and murders on Gay people and their families, shows that it is not Christianity that is causing these predations upon one or more minority groups, but the perversion of Christianity that meets the needs of those whose lack of emotional/sexual intactness and/or lack of sufficient cognitive intelligence makes them either unable and/or unwilling to confront the many gray areas, the many ambiguities, of life that offend their own rather simplistic and "comfortable" one-dimensional mind-sets as to what comprises life as it is supposed to be lived in a society.

Indeed, the many gray areas of life and of people, largely attendant upon living in a pluralistic society with its many cultures, subcultures, and countercultures, are also seen, to one degree or another, within each and every one of us, as none of us is purely one dimensional but, rather, is comprised of ambiguities, gray areas, of which even we, ourselves, are frequently unaware.

And when this awareness threatens to rear its head within a rather limited human being who is observing other people who express those ambiguities, their own worlds are rocked; their own comfort zones are threatened and invaded to such a point that many observers of these ambiguities or gray areas of life who lack emotional/sexual intactness feel that they have to lash out at these "others."

They often feel the desperate need to lash out at these "others," because these "others" are unwittingly holding a mirror up to their very own faces to show them that they, too, are multidimensional and that they, too, possess traits that, to one degree or another, reflect the very same traits that are seen in that "other," that "enemy," that these people who lack emotional/sexual intactness have constructed, so that they can maintain the fiction of what they falsely think is the inherent one-dimensional reality that they desperately need to believe comprises the composition of themselves and of each "normal" human being.

So, gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender people greatly threaten what it means to be "a man" or "a woman" in the eyes of many of these one-dimensional thinkers who see gender and sexuality in dualistic terms: "men" as being whatever the culture prescribes as appropriate gender performance for males; "women" as being whatever the culture prescribes as appropriate gender performance for women.

So, to those who lack sufficient emotional/sexual intactness, a gay male poses a threat to the definition of "manhood" as culturally defined; a lesbian poses a threat to the definition of "womanhood" as culturally defined, despite the fact that gay men can be "masculine" and lesbians can be "feminine" in regard to culturally approved gender performance, but not in the imaginations of homophobes (many, if not most, of whom are heteronormative and misogynistic) who need to see sexuality, gender performance, themselves, and most things that impact their lives in terms of dualities that are largely, if not solely, defined as being appropriate by the culture, and by religious sources that, unfortunately, all too often largely take their cues from the culture in which they are enmeshed, and which erroneously and tragically depart from the reality of human existence.

And, as I have written so many times before, those religious institutions are all too often enmeshed with the most reactionary forces within society, and help lead the charge against the expression of assorted ambiguities in and of life, such as in the realm of that which is our most primal urge: the sexual urge and its expression that is all too glibly and often labelled as "sin," unless it is reflected and expressed within the context of heterosexual marriage and, in many religious circles, to largely be justified and engaged in for procreative purposes and not solely, if at all, for "mere" pleasure.

Whenever evil is done there is almost always the appeal to virtue! Hence, many professing Christians who are to obey Jesus' commands to love God and to love others, and not judge or condemn others, see no contradiction between defaming and bearing false witness against Gay people because they really believe that they are doing God's work in engaging in that discrimination and oppression, because all too many religious leaders and their blind followers are so often propagandizing them with that big lie of inherent dualism and one-dimensional thinking as being equated with "God's will" that only the strongest and most spiritually discerning person can see is a lie, and not the truth, with which they are being inundated.

The following is my article entitled, "The Illusion of Certainty," that is currently appearing in three parts in my column, "Christianity and Society," that appears in the newspaper, "The Sacramento Valley Mirror,". This article tries to flesh out some of the dynamics of why there has been such an appeal to fundamentalism, to dualism and one-dimensional thinking that is part and parcel of fundamentalism, to the degree that this relatively recent phenomenon (That, rather than emanating from historical orthodox Christianity can more profitably been seen as having originated as more of a sect directed against science and modernism.) has come to replace in many people's minds, including many professing Christians' minds, Christianity itself.

Although I concentrate on Christian fundamentalism, all religious (and secular) fundamentalism is destructive to the psyches, bodies, and souls of all people: both participants in that framework of the perversion of the Gospel, as well as, and especially, the recipients of that perversion that has caused untold lives of unnecessary suffering, as well as untold numbers of suicides, assaults, and deaths to those who have been labelled as a threat by and to those who must see the world, others, and themselves in dualistic and one-dimensional terms, given their intolerance for the ambiguities and mysteries of life that greatly threaten their concepts of self, as well as their very holds on life, as they have come to more or less comfortably know and count on them for their psychological survival.

And, even more to the point, these fundamentalists are driven to insist that their mind-set represents "The Truth," and, "in the name of God" they are driven to seek to impose that "Truth" onto others, even to the point of contravening the very Gospel and the very God that they say they represent.

The following is the article to which I have referred, "The Illusion of Certainty":


“For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”
(Galatians 5:1)

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.

The term "Fundamentalism" originated as a series of pamphlets published between 1910 and 1915. Entitled "The Fundamentals: A Testimony to the Truth," these booklets were written by some leading evangelical churchmen and were circulated free of charge among clergy as well as in Seminaries. It was the emphasis on biblical criticism within Germany, as well as the beginning popularity of Darwin's theory of evolution dealing with the origin of the universe, to which conservative churchmen responded. The result was the pamphlets. In 1920, a journalist and Baptist layman named Curtis Lee Laws coined the term "fundamentalist" as a designation for those who were ready "to do battle royal for the Fundamentals."

“The Bible is the sacred text of the Christian Fundamentalists. Indeed, if there is one single thing which binds Fundamentalists together, it is their insistence that the Bible is to be understood as literally true. Further, Fundamentalists see themselves as the guardians of the truth, usually to the exclusion of others' interpretation of the Bible. Fundamentalism in other faith traditions similarly proclaims guardianship of truth.” (Religious Movements Home Page Project at the University of Virginia, located at

None of us want to have our comfort zones invaded or have our worlds rocked in any way! Many of us are relatively uncomfortable with ideas and behaviors that call into question those ideas that we have come to revere as deeply held truths, particularly when these “deeply held truths,” and various ideas and behaviors, have been given approval by God as asserted by assorted clergy over the last several decades. Similarly, if any idea or any behavior is viewed by fundamentalists as contradicting “God’s Word,” as they interpret it from the Bible, they feel duty bound to condemn that idea or that behavior and, despite rhetoric to the contrary, condemn the people holding that idea or who engage in that behavior.

Fundamentalism’s main attraction seems to be its promise of “certainty” in a very uncertain world! I’m reminded of what Jesse Jackson said upon the murder of Enos Cosby, Bill Cosby’s son: “We act as if life is certain and death is uncertain when, in fact, death is certain and life is very uncertain.” We’re frightened of this uncertainty and many people are, understandably, attracted to a voice that assures them that there is a certainty to be had by following the dictates of the Bible, or any other book viewed as “holy,” as interpreted and espoused by clergy and others who claim a mantle of authority to interpret that book.

It seems to me that most people who gravitate to “progressive” and mainline churches are likely to be somewhat more comfortable coping with ambiguity or, at least, are likely to be more willing to explore the many gray and multidimensional aspects of life and the spirit than those who attend fundamentalist churches. Moreover, they are usually much more likely to see the need to integrate social justice concerns with their understanding of the Gospel.

Clearly, when one is fearful and/or antagonistic to the uncertainties of life, one of the likely byproducts of the ensuing fundamentalism is the need for association with like-minded people, resulting in the creation of a "them" so that there can be an "us." Hence, the incestuous socialization that we find in so many churches where people who aren't in total agreement with the mind-set of the pastor and the congregation are considered "outsiders" and even "enemies" of both the people themselves but also are considered enemies of the "Truth" as the congregation sees that "Truth" as they interpret it from the Bible.

The need, sometimes the desperate need, to live in “certainty” drives many to torture logic, and deny even the most basic axioms of rationality, and assert such fallacies as the earth merely being about ten thousand years old, the lack of the existence of dinosaurs on the earth as the Bible doesn’t mention them, denial of the possibility of evolution as they (erroneously) think that it contradicts the existence of a Creator, etc. Although fundamentalism is attractive to many for malignant reasons, as well as to those with insufficient intelligence to deal with the many ambiguities of life, many people live in fear, and fundamentalism promises deliverance from fear by hammering home a view of God, the Bible, the world, and of people that breeds the illusion of “certainty” in an uncertain world, controlled by a God they have the temerity to claim they understand.

“We are fearful people….Fear has become an obvious dwelling place, an acceptable basis on which to make our decisions and plan our lives. Those we fear have a great power over us. Those who can make us afraid can also make us do what they want us to do.

”People are afraid for many reasons, but I am convinced that the close connection between power and fear deserves special attention. So much power is wielded by instilling fear in people and keeping them afraid… As long as we are kept in fear we can be made to act, speak, and even think as slaves…The agenda of our world – the issues and items that fill newspapers and newscasts – is an agenda of fear and power. It is amazing, yes frightening, to see how easily that agenda becomes ours.

”But fearful questions never led to love-filled answers; underneath every fearful question many other fearful questions are hidden…. Fear engenders fear. Fear never gives birth to love. A careful look at the gospels shows that Jesus seldom accepted the questions posed to him. He exposed them as coming from the house of fear. ‘Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? How often must I forgive my brother if he wrongs me? Is it against the law for a man to divorce his wife on any pretext whatever? What authority do you have for acting like this? … Are you the king of the Jews? Lord, has the hour come? Are you
going to restore the kingdom to Israel?…’ To none of these questions did Jesus give a direct answer. He gently put them aside as questions emerging from false worries. They were raised out of concern for prestige, influence, power, and control. They did not belong to the house of God. Therefore Jesus always transformed the question by his answer. He made the question new – and only then worthy of his response.” (Henri Nouwen, Lifesigns: Intimacy, Fecundity, and Ecstasy in Christian Perspective, 16-19).

As Nouwen pointed out, “fear engenders fear. Fear never gives birth to love.” Because those who seek out Fundamentalism are likely to be very fearful people questing the certainty that fundamentalism promises, and which they perceive it provides, they are not likely be particularly loving people.

My wife and I spent about fifteen years in fundamentalist churches, for reasons that are best left for another article. In any case, we never really understood why most, though by no means all, of the people there were not particularly loving people. For example, when they thought I was dying in the hospital from Pancreatitis, my wife was a wreck and she called a “friend” and “prayer warrior” who was very well respected in the church we all attended. My wife asked her to pray for me because I was dying. This prayer warrior, who daily read and quoted from the Bible, and who led women’s prayer groups, said, “I
can’t. I’m too busy now.” Believe me, if it didn’t happen to us, I’d have trouble believing it myself. In another instance, when my wife was diagnosed with cancer not one of her “friends” or acquaintances, many of whom went to the fundamentalist church we went to, even picked up the phone to call her and ask her how she was feeling, let alone offer to help her in any way. Even the pastor never called! We were on our own! In another fundamentalist church the pastor’s wife told my then sixteen year old daughter that she was “a tool of Satan” because she listened to rock music. An acquaintance of mine,
who went to a fundamentalist church, recently told me that the pastor’s wife approached him and said that she had heard that he was thinking of leaving that church. He replied, “I’m praying about it.” She replied, “I suggest you leave now.”

When one is afraid, one usually doesn’t have the psychic energy to empathize with another person, particularly when it is felt that the other person might conceivably be a “burden” in one way or another. Chronic fear, like any other type of neurosis, breeds self-absorption and, therefore, makes it rather unlikely that that person will seek to help out another person, since virtually all of that person’s psychic energy is being spent on “keeping it together.” And, fundamentalism’s success is that is does, in fact, help those who are fearful of life, of ambiguity, of the unknown, and of the complex multidimensional
aspects of life and of God, “keep it together.”

For many people, fundamentalism is a desperately needed form of psychotherapy! This fact is not all bad! Most of us want safe places, safe havens, in which to rest, even if it means having our complex and existential problems addressed by a simple Bible verse, or by a rather trite remark such as, “God doesn’t give us any more than we can handle.”

This illusion of certainty, although it serves a needed psychological and social purpose for many of those who seek out fundamentalism, has another, much more dangerous, downside. Fundamentalism, by its very nature, requires that there be scapegoats! In the fundamentalist frame of mind, there has to be an “us,” and for there to be an “us” there has to be a “them.” And the current “them,” the enemy du jour, is LGBT people!

The psychological need for certainty morphs over to the social need for bonding with like-minded believers. Therefore, it’s “us” against “them!” Anyone who is viewed as not seeing God, the Bible, or the world as that person does is viewed as the outsider, the enemy. In my experience, many people in fundamentalist churches don’t even see those who go to “progressive” (Seeking to apply biblical principles, rather than apply every biblical and cultural practice, to contemporary social problems and
issues.) churches as being “Christian.”

Furthermore, those who don’t believe or act in the way that fundamentalists believe is in the will of God, which is usually consistent with their own prejudices and stated behaviors, is viewed as “the other,” “the enemy.” And, to preserve our way of life, and be true to “God’s Word,” as these fundamentalists insist and perceive it, they come to deny “the other” the dignity and civil rights and civil liberties that they, the fundamentalists, take for granted are their God-given right to possess. Clearly, such a mind-set is not merely putting oneself in a psychological prison, quite contrary to the fact of the Apostle Paul’s assertion in the Scripture verse that precedes this article, but is ripe for fostering a climate of fascism that pays off for many politicians and religious leaders who frequently work hand-in-hand with each other for their own mutual material, financial, and what many perceive to be their own spiritual gain.

By its very nature, the psychological and social needs of most fundamentalists require that there be a scapegoat! There must be some constructed “enemy” against which to rail, so that one’s world-view is reinforced, and so that in-group solidarity is maintained. The famous sociologist, Emile Durkheim, gave us what is probably the closest thing to a law in social life. He said that when you have a threatening out-group, the in-group unites to protect itself against it.

Therefore, in order for there to be in-group solidarity, there must be an out-group which must be fought against. Even if there is no ready-made out-group(s), the in-group, the fundamentalists in this context, will actively, perhaps unconsciously, seek to create them until they find one or more that are viewed as “politically correct,” relatively “safe,” and “appropriate” to persecute. At one time the group was women; at another time it was African Americans; now it’s gay people. Even when it is no longer politically correct or appropriate to oppress gay people, fundamentalists will tenaciously seek out another out-group, as fundamentalism requires at least one out-group for it to not only flourish, but to even exist. In fundamentalism, there must be an “us,” and there can’t be an “us” without a “them!”

It’s always important to remember that Christians are principally defined by only two characteristics: the love for God, in that we trust God over and above seen circumstances; loving other people. One’s theology is relatively unimportant, in that there can be a wide variety of theologies and Christology among Christians. “Love” is what is important in the Christian life but, as shown above, since love can’t be a priority among those who live in fear and require black and white answers in a very grey world, fundamentalists emphasize one’s “theology” as being the criterion for membership in the Christian community.

Christians know the truth that “It is better to be of a lowly spirit among the poor than to divide the spoil with the proud.” (Proverbs 16:19) Most fundamentalists can’t psychologically or socially afford to absorb this central tenet of the Christian life. They may mouth such shibboleths as, “Hate the sin and love the sinner,” but the fact is (and, frequently, the consequences of their words and actions are) that they show themselves to hate those who they view as in any way opposing their views of God and of the world.

Freedom and humility are antithetical to fundamentalism! The Gospel of grace, faith, love, peace, reconciliation, and inclusiveness is antithetical to the arrogance that is part and parcel of fundamentalism! “Humility” is inconsistent with the belief that only one’s own views are the right ones, and all other views are wrong; those who claim divergent views, or engage in behaviors deemed ungodly or inappropriate by those who claim sole authority in interpreting the Bible and knowing “God’s will” are, therefore, usually viewed as not “moral” or “Christian,” or “in the will of God.”

Fundamentalist and allied churches meet deeply felt psychological needs of increasing numbers of people, and provide a safe space for incestuous socialization that reinforces the one-dimensional thinking and view of the world of many of these people, and provide a measure of comfort for their angst in wrestling with a world and a with a God none of us can really comprehend.

These churches are currently meeting deeply felt psychological and social needs of people. At a time of rapid economic, social, and technological changes, and the consequent fears that they generate, increasing numbers of people are looking for a measure of “certainty” that fundamentalism promises to provide.

And, many people tenaciously seek to grab on to this “certainty,” despoiling their own potential for psychological growth, and even and unwittingly do so at the expense of preserving and enriching the very fabric of civility of their society, even if this “certainty” is ultimately an illusion.
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Saturday, February 7, 2009


As a minister of the Gospel, it is my honor and pleasure to exercise my obligation to preach and do my best to live out the Gospel of Christ. Jesus was crucified and rose again so that all of those whom God chose to hear His voice could be free from the shackles of bondage. Those shackles are placed by those who seek to contravene and contradict the Gospel of Grace and Love by trying (often successfully) to impose upon others, and often upon even themselves, assorted rules and laws that they read into the Bible. They falsely call these rules and laws "Christian values," in order to confirm their own preconceived prejudices.

I was very disappointed in Bishop Gene Robinson's pre-inaugural prayer. He did not preach Christ crucified for our sakes; he did not preach the freedom that Christ gives us; he did not preach our liberty in Jesus; he did not preach that Christianity was inconsistent with discrimination and oppression against Gay people. Instead, he viewed all religions as being equivalent in preaching the love and freedom that Christ promises and delivers to all who live in Him.

He tried to make nice with those who preach messages that are often hateful and even demonic. He didn't recognize that the Lord’s teachings are offensive to the natural mind, and that no amount of coddling the haters will win them over to the Gospel of Grace (unmerited favor of God to us) and love; no amount of coddling Christian homophobes is going to discourage them from demeaning and advocating discrimination against Gay people; no amount of coddling false prophets will make them regret the untold numbers of suicides, assaults, and even murders of Gay people that they’ve caused. He never once called to account those professing Christian clergy and their followers for opposing the very Person and Gospel whom they erroneously contend that they represent.

The following brief video is that of Bishop Gene Robinson giving his pre-inaugural prayer:

I was quite disturbed by Bishop Gene Robinson's pre-inaugural prayer on a number of counts. It's taken me a while to discern most of what really prompted my disappointment, beyond the fact that he never once mentioned Jesus, whom he claims to represent. By trying to appeal to "all gods" and "all people," he both undermined and contradicted the Gospel message.

Robinson was effusive in his gratitude for being in the presence of President Obama and other well known politicians. He took pride in being able to sit near Obama during the inauguration ceremonies, as well as he and his partner being able to pray with Obama, and being in such close proximity to the inauguration. He even seemed in awe of homophobic clergy like TD Jakes! Indeed, he even seems to fall all over himself in describing his association with clergy who undoubtedly view him as a "sinner," who rail against Gay people from their pulpits and other venues, and who actively urge others to discriminate against them.

To get a flavor of that to which I'm referring, here are Gene Robinson's words describing his experience during the inauguration:

I met some wonderful people. Sat next to the new Securities and Commodities appointee, who later introduced me to the new Treasury Secretary and his wife. Oprah was there (sitting BEHIND us, I might add!). Most of the cabinet. Other denominational leaders.

Then, we were bussed to the Capitol.

Mark and I split up, because I had been invited to sit on the Presidential Platform. Through several security checkpoints in the bowels of the Capitol.

Al and Tipper Gore left their entourage specifically to greet me — a real honor, given the magnificent contributions he's making to our common good. Then, we walked down the series of hallways/steps that the new president would walk down in a few minutes.

I entered into the light of day and the Presidential Platform, just behind Newt Gingrich and Rick Warren. I told Pastor Warren that I would be praying for him. Again, he was most gracious.

Coming out onto the platform was overwhelming. Not only would I be mere feet away from Barack Obama when he took the oath of office, but the view from the platform of the millions of people on the Mall was awe inspiring.

It was a solid mass of humanity for as far as the eye could see, all the way to the Washington Monument, and then all the way to the Lincoln Memorial, where this weekend's journey had begun for us. The air was electric, the joy palpable, and the momentousness of the occasion solemn.

I was seated in the sixth row behind the president, beside Federico Pena (who was delightful), directly behind Gov. Warren Dean (chairman of the Democratic National Committee). General Colin Powell was also in the next row in front of me — we greeted each other with the secret Episcopal handshake.

[See here.]

While Bishop Robinson claims that we must hold Obama's "feet to the fire" [See here.], he betrays those words in his pre-inaugural prayer. He tries to lower expectations as to when full and equal civil rights must be obtained by LGBT people, the only citizens of the U.S. who are currently and legally viewed as second-class citizens. He counsels patience with that second-class status being codified by law, as is the case with DOMA and DADT.

The prayer of Bishop Robinson could have been a turning point in the consciousness of many Gay and Straight people who understandably confuse Christianity with the false gospel of legalism, perfectionism, exclusion, demonization, and oppression of LGBT people. Many sensitive and intelligent people are understandably turned off from Christianity because they have rarely heard and seen the "real thing." Bishop Robinson could have corrected this terrible misunderstanding, but in deference to his desire to be a people-pleaser, to not risk offending others' sensibilities, he chose to water down his prayer. Not only didn’t he mention the name of Jesus, he failed to reference what Jesus’ Gospel specifically says about Gay people (Matthew 19).

He forfeited his opportunity to focus on the lack of full and equal civil and sacramental rights for Gay people. Instead, he spoke in rather general terms about a need for "justice" for all people in all countries. This is a laudable goal, but it’s an abstraction with which many could well be bored. Worse, many can easily affirm that goal but then get on with "business as usual," which includes dehumanizing talk and actions directed against LGBT Americans.

His prayer fell far short of what might have been, and what should have been, in terms of communicating God’s love through Jesus for all of His LGBT children. Of course, social justice for everyone is the goal of every Christian worthy of the name, but since LGBT people are singularly oppressed, it was incumbent upon the Bishop to address and concentrate on that particular issue. It was incumbent upon him to invoke Jesus' name in specifically calling for their liberation from the yokes of bondage that ignorant haters, perversely often in the name of God, have placed upon them. It was incumbent upon him to denounce the heterosexist oppression that has taken hold of many people's psyches, as well as the many institutions, including "religious," familial, political, military, and judicial institutions within the U.S.

He forfeited his major opportunity to help facilitate a transformation of consciousness in the minds of many professing Christians as well as many secular people of good will. He could have challenged the belief systems of those who honestly think that limiting the civil rights of Gay people is the appropriate thing to do. When Robinson foolishly indulged his desire to be all things to all people within the historical context of a Black President’s inauguration, the unique opportunity that was afforded him was lost.

Prior to Gene Robinson's prayer, I wrote the following email to my friend Don Charles, who blogs at Christ, The Gay Martyr (To whom I am very grateful for his kind assistance in helping me edit the final version of this post.), expressing my feelings in this matter, as to what I had hoped Bishop Robinson would say in his prayer:

I think he [Bishop Robinson] will take this opportunity to talk about the need for equality for all of God's children, and how [most of the institutional] Church" has gotten it wrong before and it's making the same mistake now. He should (and I hope he does) explicate the Gospel of Jesus and let everyone who hears him hear what Jesus says about the marginalized, the poor, the "outsiders" with whom He dealt. If I were to give that prayer, I would also add that every time Jesus dealt with the religious and political leaders it turned out badly for Him as it did for all other leaders of the fledgling Church. It does Jesus, the Church, and Christianity itself a grave injustice to in any way cozy up to the power elite, those who discriminate and seek to disenfranchise any of God's children. Once the Church aligns itself with the power elite, it no longer is the "Church" and fails to in any way represent Jesus. The early Church was horribly persecuted by the power elite, and that's the way it's meant to be. To have a "peaceful" "Church," to have a self-satisfied, smug bunch of people who call themselves "Christians," is not what Jesus had in mind, and is not what Jesus' Church has ever been. To the degree we don't stand up for the outsiders, it's to that degree 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.

[In this connection, I wrote the prayer that I would have given at Obama's inauguration, had I been asked to do so. It's entitled, If I Were To Give The Prayer At The Presidential Inaugural.]

Robinson also forfeited the opportunity to insist that equal rights can't and must not be won incrementally, and that social justice must be facilitated immediately, without any more excuses or discussions as to why this "problem" needs further study. He should have pointed out that the “problem" will cease to exist if professing Christian clergy, and politicians, especially the President of the United States, set the tone for and prosecute the implementation of full and equal civil rights for all LGBT people. He seems to have been star-struck, and he cut Obama unnecessary slack in the urgent need to forcefully put equal rights for Gay people at the top his Presidential agenda. Yes, that’s exactly where LGBT equality belongs, alongside and equal to the free-falling economy that we currently endure.

Regarding the part of Robinson's prayer where he asks God to "give us anger" at injustice, I recently wrote the following email to Don Charles, as one response to his email to me encouraging me to write this post on my perceptions of Robinson's prayer:

Christians are [already] angry at injustice and do their best to fight it and never remain silent. God implants that anger against injustice, and it's not something that is an add-on that God gives . . . [it] emanates from within those whom He chose to be His agents of Grace in this world. By asking God to "give us anger," [Robinson] is not talking to Christians, and he's made it clear that he is speaking to everyone; unfortunately, [many are] incapable of that anger, as not everyone is a Christian, [or even an atheist who possesses good will]. By trying to be a people-pleaser and seeking to [give] Obama "time" to do the right thing regarding social justice, saying "... our new president is a human being, not a messiah," he [gives] Obama an out when Gay rights are on the table. Robinson [is likely to] be Obama's first apologist, and his rhetoric of holding Obama's "feet to the fire" hardly rings true to me, especially when he was forgiving Obama for inviting a hatemonger like [Rick] Warren. [Obama only invited] Robinson as an afterthought after much revulsion was expressed at the choosing of Warren. And then Robinson’s prayer segment at the pre-inaugural ceremony was blocked from telecast by the inauguration committee and/or HBO . . . [that’s what comes of] his trying to be all things to all people....

I know these words seem harsh, but the fact is that Christians are not to be people-pleasers (For example, see Isaiah 2:22; Galatians 1:10)! James writes to Christians: "Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God." (James 4:4)

More importantly, by not talking about the love of Jesus and the Gospel of Christ, Bishop Robinson violated the injunction of Jesus Himself: "But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven." (Matthew 10:33)

In my opinion, Bishop Robinson in his pre-inaugural prayer failed to heed James' counsel and Jesus' injunction! I would have expected far more of Robinson, a Gay clergyman who has suffered and continues to suffer much abuse from the usurpers of Jesus’ Gospel. It was highly disturbing to see him to cozy up to this corrupt world, a world whose system and values are antithetical to the system and values of Christ and His Church. The Church is comprised of the "called-out ones!" In my opinion, Bishop Robinson’s behavior in the context of the inauguration was not that of a “called-out” messenger of God.

The timetable for social justice is not to be based on what is politically doable. It must be based on what is spiritually correct! The Bishop invoked a generalized version of the latter while seeming to be more than willing to capitulate to the former. That lapse and/or choice on Robinson's part helped make his prayer anemic. Worse, it also left a vacuum that the imparting of Jesus' transformation of people's consciousness could have filled.

Robinson's pre-inaugural prayer didn't leave room, or even give permission to his hearers, to allow Jesus to fill that vacuum!
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Thursday, February 5, 2009


The following brief video of a talk by Sister Paula is very instructive, and should be taken to heart by all thinking people, and certainly by all Christians.

[Regarding her reference to Sam Adams, the Mayor of Portland, Oregon, I must say that I really don't know the intricacies involved in the Sam Adams affair with Beau Breedlove beyond what I've read in some news items, so I can't intelligently comment on the merits of that particular case.]

Here is Sister Paula's message:

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Tuesday, February 3, 2009


As you know, I'm optimistic that the California State Supreme Court will overturn the recent vote affirming Prop. 8. As far as I know, if the vote to prevent same-sex couples from marrying is allowed to stand, an historical precedent will have been set if the Court eventually affirms the legality of that vote, as there has been no other case in history, to the best of my knowledge, where a Constitutionally mandated right as adjudicated by a state Supreme Court has been able to be successfully overturned by the will, or tyranny, of the majority of the voters.

Should this vote be allowed to stand, every single minority group, from women, selected workers, African Americans, children, assorted ethnic groups, and selected classes of people would be vulnerable to having their current Constitutionally protected rights be rescinded by the will of the majority now or in the future, which is something the Founding Fathers deliberately chose to avoid, if not prevent.

That is one of the reasons why they set up the United States as a Democratic Republic rather than as a Democracy, where the tyranny of the majority might well prevail over Constitutionally guaranteed protections hitherto afforded each and every citizen in the U.S. to the detriment of us all, as well as to the very fabric of the social structure of the United States.

The California State Supreme Court last May stated that the historical denial of access to "marriage" to same-sex couples was now, and always was, unconstitutional; therefore, same-sex marriage must be allowed in California, and should always have been allowed in California.

It is unlikely that the California State Supreme Court would now, not only invalidate its own ruling because of the values and emotions of the majority of the voters in California at the time of the recent elections, but would want to be in a position of opening up the can of worms that would threaten each and every other minority group in California and, by possible extension, in every other state as well.

Renown [sic] constitutional scholar Tobias Wolff, an openly gay professor of law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, filed an amicus brief on behalf of civil rights organizations.

"This lawsuit is about the rights of all minority communities in California," Wolff said. "If a ballot initiative and simple majority vote could be used to take away the rights of one unpopular group, then the rights of any group could be subjected to a popular vote. That is why some of the nation's leading civil rights organizations have joined together to support the challenge to Proposition 8."

[For the full article, see here.]

What was true for the African American civil rights struggle is no less true for the Gay rights struggle! Hear President John F. Kennedy:

Californians and the rest of the country should have learned the painful lessons taught in the struggle for African American civil rights and how the rule of law must trump the rule of the majority. Indeed, if the will of the majority ruled the day, we'd undoubtedly still have institutionalized Segregation in the U.S!

The dynamics of the overcoming of the discrimination against, and the oppression of, African Americans is no less relevant or true regarding the dynamics of overcoming discrimination against our Gay fellow citizens!

And our Constitution, as well as the lessons learned from American history, reveal that the overcoming of institutionalized discrimination against any minority group must lie with the Judiciary, and not be held hostage to the whims, politics and tyranny of any "religious" or secular majority of the people.
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