Monday, March 29, 2010


The following is an email I received the other day that is quite typical of the sentiments expressed to me by homophobic professing Christians. I post this email, and my brief response to the writer, so as to help highlight the animus and the many errors that help substitute the false gospel of "legalism, perfectionism, and exclusion" (that is often manifested in hateful rhetoric and/or actions against LGBT people) for the only Gospel to be found in Christianity: the Gospel of grace (God's unmerited favor to those whom God chose before the worlds were formed--e.g., Ephesians 1:4), faith (trusting God over and above seen circumstances), love, peace, reconciliation, and inclusiveness.

I've omitted the author's name and email address for obvious reasons:

Sir, You are so far off on the article,'Honoring Gays'. Have you not read in the Holy Bible, Romans 1:18 to the end of this chapter. How can you preach in another article that we must not assign what we think a verse should say but take it in context and preach this about people 'are' born gay. Do you mean to say that your creator and Savior made a mistake? You cannopt be a real Christian but one of those spiritualist-types.Surrender to Him before it`s too late.

My response was as follows:

Have you not read Romans 2:1 which provides the context for the verse to which you referred? If you are truly interested in exploring this issue, I suggest you read some of the articles and sites in the Links section of my blog. I once felt the same way as you do until I studied this issue, looking at the Greek and the context of the Bible verses erroneously used to call Gay people "mistakes." Regarding my "surrendering to Him before it's too late," I won't even dignify that assertion by a response. Best wishes, Jerry Maneker.

Notice, in his email, his strong belief that: 1. Gay people are "mistakes"; 2. that I am implying that God makes mistakes when God creates LGBT people; 3. that one can't be "a real Christian" if one sees Gay people as deserving of full civil and sacramental rights; 4. that because I fight for LGBT rights, I have not surrendered to God; 4. that I must surrender to God "before it's too late."

I will return to his original email to me below, but the following is his email in reply to my response to his original email:

Jerry, I am pleasantly surprised that you replied so quickly. Give your self a pat on the back from me. How can you stand on your opinion that people are born gay,they are not. Did you not read the scripture I quoted ? Look at Lev.18:22 and 1 John 2:29. If a practicing homosexual confesses to be a Christian he is not.But if he is striving in all sincerity to break from it because he has read in God`s Word that it is sin then I accept him. [Notice, how he is placing himself in the role of God by this last phrase.] I am not judging him of my own opion but of the Word of God. Right now, I see you as an anti-christ for you are 'approving' them of their sin and going so far as to inform them that God accepts them and they`ll go to heaven. Look at it this way; picture the scene and imagine Jesus there. Can you se Him giving approval ? If you cannot then you are wrong . A friend, Jim

Notice, he sees me as an "anti-christ," but he calls himself my "friend." This kind of response that I receive from religiously based homophobes is not at all unusual.

He seems to have become a bad man, as he does say bad things about innocent members of a minority group, and he is one who truly believes that Gay people are "mistakes" and "sinners," and that someone such as me, who professes to be a Christian, can't possibly be a Christian as I am fighting for Gay rights; since from his point of view I'm working against God, I therefore must be "an anti-christ."

As suggested above, he is putting himself in the role of God; he feels that his interpretation of Scripture is infallible and he is immune to any alternate interpretations of the very same Bible verses he erroneously uses to "justify" his false gospel of vilification and exclusion; he doesn't even suggest that he read other sources that I suggested he read in my reply to him.

Clearly, it is a mistake to try to reason with such a person, as he is a true believer who is immune to ample biblical and extra-biblical evidence that run contrary to his views. (The very best book dealing with this subject is the eminently readable, yet scholarly, and comprehensive book by Rick Brentlinger entitled, Gay Christian 101, that I strongly urge you to buy, whether or not you are a Christian.)

So, Jim is not only committing the sin of "idolatry," a violation of one of the Ten Commandments, by worshiping the Bible, but he is committing an even worse sin in idolizing his own interpretation of selected verses of the Bible, thereby worshiping himself. Hence, his telling sentence: "But if he is striving in all sincerity to break from it because he has read in God`s Word that it is sin then I accept him."

He doesn't care to realize that God accepts (and loves) all of God's creation; we are not to judge anyone; he lacks faith by not knowing that God doesn't make mistakes by creating God's LGBT children. This man, like all true believers who think that they have a corner on the truth, is showing a tremendous lack of faith, and without faith it is impossible to please God. (Hebrews 11:6)

This man has drunk the Kool Aid, amply served by most clergy within the institutional Church, who feel the exact same way, and teach their followers to interpret the Bible in the very same way, that Jim does.

Jim is not alone in his faulty, literalist and non-contextual understanding of Scripture; his lack of understanding of the Greek word that is falsely translated as "homosexual" also helps blind him to the reality of what it means to be Gay, just as the fact that the very term "homosexual" doesn't appear in any biblical manuscript as the term wasn't even coined until the late 19th Century.

In any case, I want to discuss his first email to me, dealing with the above numbered items that might better help us understand the fallacy that lies behind the animus against LGBT people held by religiously-based homophobes, or those who use the Bible and/or religion to deny Gay people dignity, thereby traversing one of the Ten Commandments against bearing false witness; who seek to deprive Gay people of full and equal civil and sacramental rights, thereby traversing Jesus' Commandments for us to love and not judge others.

First notice:

Matthew 22:35-40 (New International Version)

One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question:

"Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two Commandments."

Pretty simple, huh?

Yet so many professing Christians refuse to understand the only Gospel to be found in Christianity, the Gospel of grace; refuse to exercise faith, without which it is impossible to please God; refuse to love and not judge others!

In reference to Jim's first email to me, he states:

1. "Gay people are mistakes": He is suggesting that God makes mistakes by creating Gay people; being Gay is a freely taken choice, which contradicts virtually all of the scientific literature. Here, he is setting himself up as an arbiter of "the truth," appealing to his own interpretation of the Bible to affirm his position on this matter. Moreover, he is in "good company", in that most of the people who claim to be "Bible-believing Christians" would heartily agree with him. They may be sincere, but they are sincerely wrong!

2. "I am implying that God makes mistakes when God creates LGBT people": Actually, Jim, and others like him, are actually stating that God makes mistakes when God creates Gay people. Even forgetting the scientific literature that shows that sexual orientation is not a freely made choice, who is Jim, or anyone else for that matter, to suggest that any other human being is "a mistake?" That assertion alone contradicts Jesus' Commandment to us to "Love your neighbor as yourself." I don't see much love coming from homophobic professing Christians! Certainly, there is not much love in the Jims of the world who would call me "an anti-christ"; assert that I'm not "a real Christian"; make the judgment that Gay people are sinners, and by being Gay are not in the will of God, and will, therefore, not go to heaven. It should be clear to anyone with an ounce of sense that Jim is placing himself in the role of God in deciding who is acceptable to him; who is acceptable to God; who is a Christian; who is a sinner; who is going to heaven! And, on top of all that, he is clearly wrong in his understanding of the Scripture verses he uses to deny dignity to Gay people.

3. "One can't be 'a real Christian' if one sees Gay people as deserving of full civil and sacramental rights": Jim, like many other like-minded professing Christians, seems to need a sense of certainty in life and impose that sense of certainty onto others. Their need for certainty in a very uncertain world, and the fear that is engendered in them by the many changes, gray areas, and ambiguities of life, is what largely drives them to tenaciously dig in their heels, and fight to impose their view of the world onto others. Their need for certainty also provokes in them the need to create an out-group in order to enhance in-group solidarity with other like-minded people. And their need for in-group solidarity often provokes in them the need to paint themselves as "victims" of others (e.g., portraying Christianity as being under attack by "the Gay Agenda."), as they unconsciously and/or consciously reason that there can't be an "us" without a "them." So, no matter how irrational their pronouncements in the context of Christianity, the Gospel becomes subordinate to their psychological and social needs for meaning in life that often results in the oppression of others "in the name of God," akin to those of White Supremacists who often partake of the very same mind-set as do strident homophobes.

4. "Because I fight for LGBT rights, I have not surrendered to God": The fact is that it is God Who put, and still puts, in my heart the need to fight this good fight of faith! (1Timothy 6:12) The reason I have a fire in the belly for equal civil and sacramental rights for LGBT people is that I am a Christian, and a theologically conservative one at that! No one who is a Christian can oppress people, either rhetorically or by action or by silence amidst the oppression of others! No Christian can advocate discrimination against others! No Christian can assent to second-class citizenship for anyone in civil society and/or in regard to fellowship in any institution that calls itself a "church!" As Jesus says: "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." (John 13:35) One can be a decent and loving human being and not be a Christian! However, one can't be a Christian without being a decent and loving human being! If a person is not a decent and loving human being, he/she has no right to call him/herself a Christian! And no one who calls Gay people "mistakes," who says that one can't be Gay and be a Christian, who advocates denial of full and equal civil and sacramental rights to Gay people, who says that Gay people and advocates for equality for LGBT people are not going to heaven, is clearly not a decent and loving person. And a tragedy is that Jim's sentiments are shared by many, if not most, within the institutional Church that has blood on its hands due to homophobic rhetoric and actions that are, in my opinion, responsible for most of the untold sufferings, suicides, assaults, and murders of LGBT people!

5. "I must surrender to God 'before it's too late'": Given the fact that the disciple of Christ is assured that he/she was chosen by God to be God's possession, for God's inscrutable reasons, before the worlds were formed, as can be seen in many parts of Scripture, such as Romans 8:29 and Ephesians 1:4, not only does Jim show himself to be ignorant of one of the most basic features of Christianity, but he is playing God in asserting that by my advocacy of LGBT rights I cannot be "a real Christian" and that he judges that I have not surrendered to God, and that I'm not going to heaven when I die.

Talk about chutzpa!

As I've taught my children, and my students when I was teaching:

Never let other people define your reality for you or put you into bondage to their ways of thinking!

To live the "abundant life" that Jesus promises us, we must remember that in the Christian life, as in life itself, one size doesn't fit all!

And, tragically, there is no reasoning with the homophobic Jims of the world, of which there are all too many!
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Friday, March 26, 2010


This seeming move in the right direction regarding the repeal of DADT is actually both pathetic and a virtually guaranteed death by a thousand cuts!

[Defense Secretary Robert] Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, support a repeal of the law but want to move slowly to ensure the changes won't hurt the military's effectiveness. Gates ordered a review, due Dec. 1, on how the military would implement a repeal, should Congress change the law.

"Doing it hastily is very risky," Gates said Thursday.

The changes he announced take effect immediately and apply to current as well as future cases. Pentagon officials said they were unsure how many people the new rules might affect.

This is not Rocket Science! Many other countries have openly Gay people serving in their military without incident and without any threat to the troops or to national security, and the Obama Administration knows this fact!

There is absolutely no reason why DADT can't immediately be repealed!

By continuing to "study" the likely consequences of the repeal of DADT, and stating that Doing it [repealing DADT] hastily is very risky, merely sets the stage where a self-fulfilling prophecy occurs whereby there will likely be excess revulsion expressed both by the troops and by society at large that wouldn't likely have occurred had Obama had the guts and moral compass to sign a stop/loss order last year, or even at this time, and tell Congress that he wants DADT repealed right now.

After all, it is a Democratic Congress! Up to now, the Democrats could blame the Republicans who had the Presidency and the majority of Congress for maintaining DADT.

Now, the only ones to blame are Obama and the largely Democratic Congress who, by their foot-dragging and what I perceive to be negative rhetoric as evidenced by Robert Gates in the following video, might well help create a level of backlash against Gay people that otherwise wouldn't have occurred once DADT is finally repealed.

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Monday, March 22, 2010


UPDATE, March 23, 2010: The following is an email I sent to Lt. Dan Choi. His email address is:

It would be wonderful if as many people as possible expressed their gratitude to him for what he is doing to make possible equality for LGBT people.

Dear Lt. Choi: God bless you for your courage, the service you have done for our country, and the service you are doing for countless numbers of LGBT people who, because of the very nature God gave them, are consigned to pariah status and second-class citizenship. Please know how grateful so many are for your sacrifices and dignity, and I frankly view you as the Martin Luther King of the LGBT Civil Rights Movement! My very best wishes, Jerry Maneker.

I really believe that Lt. Dan Choi has become the catalyst for an exponential increase of the momentum in the struggle for equal rights for LGBT people! His sense of dignity, poise, and intelligence enables him to articulate the need for equal rights in a way we have not seen since Martin Luther King.

Indeed, he may well be the Martin Luther King of the LGBT Civil Rights movement!

He is not only extremely articulate and poised, but has already begun to pay the price that is part and parcel of that "season of suffering" than Martin Luther King said was essential for African Americans to win full and equal civil rights.

After listening to Dan Choi speak; after seeing his sense of dignity and his poise in front of the media, do you think for one minute that he refers to himself, or even thinks of himself, as a "queer" or as a "fag?" I'd bet my bottom dollar that he never sees himself in that way or refers to himself in that way!

He has class, and it abundantly shows!

Unfortunately there are also some people with class who refer to themselves by use of hateful words, but that is largely due to their false and tragic belief that they are somehow "reclaiming" and "redefining" those words by their use of them; they feel that they are "empowering" and "liberating" themselves by their use.

However, we may well be entering an era in this Civil Rights movement when such false consciousness will be increasingly seen to be traitorous to the goals of achieving full and equal civil rights; show a lack of dignity and class by the people who continue to choose to use such words as self-identifiers; show such people to not really be interested in acquiring full and equal civil rights despite their rhetoric to the contrary.

A major tragedy of the LGBT Civil Rights movement is that so many Gay people refer to themselves by use of hateful terms that there is now going to be a division within the ranks: those who see themselves as "queer" and those who see themselves as "Gay Americans."

And it is this latter group that will provide the dignity and meaningful and coordinated individual and organizational activism necessary to continue this struggle to finally get full and equal civil rights in the U.S. and elsewhere!

In this connection, my good friend, Don Charles, has, as have most Gay people, been exposed to virtually all sorts of rhetorical (and often physical) assaults, all the while being called the very same homophobic epithets that many Gay people continue to use to identify themselves.

Don Charles wrote a letter briefly letting Steven Petrow, who authored an article entitled, Queeries: Beware of Sexting, how insulting that epithet is to a Gay person who has dignity and self-respect.

With Don Charles' permission, I'm reprinting the complete thread (in reverse order) of his exchange with Mr. Petrow: (I have omitted the personal information of those people who chose to comment on this matter in regard to Mr. Petrow's question that he publicly posed on Facebook.)

Mr. Petrow,

What a strange reply you sent to my request that you reconsider your casual use of hate speech. You say you had to poll opinions before deciding whether to adapt a derogatory term for your column title. I'm sure if you had polled a bunch of reactionary, Bible-bigoted Right Wingers, they'd agree that "Queeries" was an appropriate title for your column, too. What's more, I'm sure if, in the 1800s, you had asked most Black slaves if "niggers" was an appropriate name for them, they'd have answered in the affirmative. (The analogy I'm drawing between LGBT folk and slaves is quite deliberate.) And I'm sure if, in the 1930s and '40s, you had polled the German people about what Adolph Hitler was doing, they'd have given his administration an overwhelming thumbs-up. My point? There are no conditions under which ignorance stops being ignorant. Let me put it another way: if you smear lipstick on a pig, you've still got pork! "Clever, catchy, and not at all hateful?" After I've shared with you my personal experience with the word "queer" and other forms of hate speech? And then you have the gall to end this extended exercise in sarcasm with "cheers"? What a clown you are, sir. Forgive me if I refrain from laughing, but I don't feature your kind of comedy! I never did go for the kind that insults my intelligence. There comes a time in life when a rational person must decide for himself what is right or wrong; where going along with the crowd just doesn't cut it; where being "edgy" or "trendy" is no substitute for being responsible. I don't think you've reached that time in your life yet, Mr. Petrow! I wonder if you ever will? I'm sorry that I wasted my time trying to reason with you. I should have recognized you immediately as a "House Negro". Go on back to serving your master, before he gets cross with you.

Donny C. Hampton

On Sat, Mar 20, 2010 at 11:41 AM, steven petrow wrote:
dear mr. hampton-
thanks for writing me about this. before i named the column "queeries" i gave it a lot of thought and talked with several colleagues in my professional world. they thought it was clever, catchy and not at all hateful. since you wrote, i posted an abridged version of your note on my facebook accounts and asked people to respond to your comments. as you can see from their comments, your view wasn't shared by anyone who cared to comment (which doesn't mean some people don't feel the way you do). here are what the posters had to say. and, again, thanks for writing -- and presumably reading. cheers. sp

MR. PETRO ASKED HIS FACE BOOK READERS WHAT THEY THOUGHT ABOUT THE ORIGINAL EMAIL DON CHARLES SENT TO HIM: I got this email. What you think: "Why do you use this title [Queeries] for your column? Don't you know that "queer" is still a hateful word? Calling a column devoted to Gay topics "Queeries" is the like calling a column devoted to African-American topics "All About Niggers." Some Gay people have ignorantly... "reclaimed" this ugly term, but you can't reclaim something that hasn't been given up.


I may have no room to speak here, but I think "Queeries" is a clever term for a Q&A column!

I honestly thought it was a play on words....a shortened term for 'inquiries' and use of the word 'queer' as your questioner asked.
Btw, has your reader noticed that African-Americans use the word 'nigger' in a lot of music? In today's world. it seems a word or term isn't so derogatory when used by the 'group' it reflects but when it's used by others, then it's deemed to be hateful.

In its earliest days, the gay and lesbian movement took its cues from the civil rights movement. Reclaiming pejoratives was one of the many tricks we learned. I haven't cringed hearing the words "fag" or "pansy" in decades, because they're my own now.

I guess for some people the sting of a word never goes away, despite a community's effort to reclaim it. The 'N' word, while used by some African Americans towards each other is certainly seen as one of the most horrific epithets when used ON an A-A by a non-A-A. Personally, if a someone uses any gay epithets, I look at it in context of the person, their usage and their general ignorance before I take offense.

I always take a cue from my grandmother, who smuggled Jews in Nazi occupied Czechoslovakia. She says, "It' doesn't matter what a person says. Any idiot can look around and figure out the the right thing to say that'll make people nod and clap for you. Look at what they do - how they behave."

I don't use the term to refer to myself as I've never particularly cared for it, but I don't find it particularly offensive, either. I suppose part of the reason is that I came out in 1982 - we were only finally getting around to acknowledging that gay women were, in fact, "lesbians". Queer, to me, says "unusual" or "out of the norm". I don't ... See Moreparticularly consider myself either, but I often jokingly use terms like "homo" and "'mo" in reference to myself. I am gay, I like being gay, and I like the word "gay."
I suspect it's - mostly - a generational thing.

I didn't realize it was a hateful word. I guess it is if it's being yelled at me by a redneck or a basher... lol. If "queer" is an ugly term now, I suppose "gay" will be considered ugly at some point too. Words are arbitrary and only hold the meaning that a person gives them. Keep up the good work Steven!

The word queer has grown in use among young people due to its umbrella quality - it includes lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender folks, and the intersex community. In academia, we've seen a rise in pursuit of "queer studies." I recognize that some still find the word offensive, but I think it's here to stay. And I don't think it compares easily to "nigger" because "queer" already has so many legitimate uses. Wondering whether this letter writer was equally incensed by "Queer as Folk."

it really doesn't bother me. I think calling something "gay" as used today by our youth bothers me a little more.

Perhaps my own friends of color are an exception, but I have often heard the n-word used as a term of affection between African-Americans. That is a closer parallel than the letter-writer's example of an offensive column title, since Steven's work here is clearly of us, by us, and for us GLBTs. Besides which, there is a play on words within "Queeries" that is NOT present in the "All About Niggers."

queer isn't a hateful word, just as lesbian isn't. it's usually a type you can check off in "sexual orientation." now f*g and d*ke i can agree with.

Turning oppressive language on its head. In other words, historically oppressed groups proactively reclaiming words previously used by their oppressor to — both symbolically and in most cases literally — rob them of their humanity. Such a great example of poetic justice!


Date: Tue, 9 Mar 2010 11:14:21 -0600
Subject: "Queeries"?

Why do you use this title for your column? Don't you know that "queer" is still a hateful word? I appeal to you to please change it. Calling a column devoted to Gay topics "Queeries" is the equivalent of calling a column devoted to African-American topics "All About Niggers."

I live in the Bible Belt, and I'm regularly taunted with words like "queer" and "faggot". LGBT people are not "queers"! The label is inaccurate as well as derogatory. Some Gay people have ignorantly "reclaimed" this ugly term, but you can't reclaim something that hasn't been given up. Believe me, it hasn't been given up! Please stop helping bigots feel comfortable with their bigotry.

Don Charles

As Jesus says: They have eyes, but they don't see!

As I wrote in a February 21, 2008 article entitled, On The Need To Grow Up:

There is a point when one has to own his/her dignity, demand the respect due to any human being, demand full and equal civil and sacramental rights regardless of the negative messages and hostility that have been visited on that person in the past, or even in the present. And those goals will not be realized as long as the minority group accepts its inferior status, and revels in it by referring to its members by the very same terms used by the most virulent homophobes throughout history and in our midst.

No self respecting person, Gay or Straight, stands for being treated as less than fully human; no self respecting person, Gay or Straight, uses negative self-identifiers that have been historically (and contemporarily) used by their oppressors. The slave mentality is blamed on others, but the fact is that it ultimately resides within each human being whether or not to accept that mentality.

[Please also read Don Charles' article, In Defense of Growing Up.]

I truly believe that Dan Choi is the catalyst for equal rights to become a reality in the foreseeable future! Not only because his words and actions can significantly help change the hearts and minds of potential Straight allies, but because his persona can have enormous influence on judicial interpretations of Constitutional law.

He has put a human, dignified, and very public face on Gay people as citizens who are illegally discriminated against, and that face will likely favorably influence federal court decisions.

Moreover, he presents a face contrary to the homophobic stereotype that "Gay merely equals Sex," and contradicting that one-dimensional stereotype is essential for acquiring the very same civil rights that heterosexual citizens enjoy.
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Saturday, March 20, 2010


The following is a video of Lt. Dan Choi's inspiring speech given after his and Cpt. Jim Pietrangelo's court appearance.

[Thanks to Towleroad.]

As my good friend, Don Charles, suggested to me, he might just well be the Martin Luther King of the LGBT Rights movement!
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Friday, March 19, 2010


Please listen to Lt. Dan Choi's inspiring speech before he and Capt. Jim Pietrangelo handcuffed themselves in the crucified position on the gate of the White House, and eventually had those cuffs cut off and he, Pietrangelo, and some courageous others were arrested:

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This is terrific article, a clarion call, by David Mixner for all of us to get serious about fighting for equal rights and take advantage of the momentum begun by such heroes as Dan Choi [Pictured], Jim Pietrangelo, and Robin McGehee.

In this connection, I strongly urge all of us to support in lieu of supporting what I consider to be that pathetic organization, the HRC.

Here is an excerpt from David Mixner's [Pictured] article that I strongly urge you to read in its entirety:

When I struggle to find the words why this is important and why these young brave leaders from GetEqual should be heard, I hit a dead end. Then Marylouise Oates reminded me of Dr. King's "Letter From A Birmingham Jail" and that I didn't have to create new words. The words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr still resonate today for all those around the world struggling against oppression. The greatest honor I can bestow upon these bright young minds is to put their actions in context with Dr. King's words.

For those of you who view their actions as ineffective, grandstanding or even ego-driven, I ask you to listen carefully to these words written by Dr. King in "The Letters From A Birmingham Jail":

My friends, I must say to you that we have not made a single gain in civil rights without determined legal and nonviolent pressure. Lamentably, it is an historical fact that privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily. Individuals may see the moral light and voluntarily give up their unjust posture; but, as Reinhold Niebuhr has reminded us, groups tend to be more immoral than individuals.......

We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct action campaign that was "well timed" in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word "Wait!" It rings in the ear of every Negro (LGBT) with piercing familiarity. This "Wait" has almost always meant "Never." We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that "justice too long delayed is justice denied.

Many have said to me that civil disobedience is not the way. King said,

"You deplore the demonstrations taking place in Birmingham(Washington and San Francisco). But your statement, I am sorry to say, fails to express a similar concern for the conditions that brought about the demonstrations. I am sure that none of you would want to rest content with the superficial kind of social analysis that deals merely with effects and does not grapple with underlying causes.,....

"One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that "an unjust law is no law at all...

"Of course, there is nothing new about this kind of civil disobedience. It was evidenced sublimely in the refusal of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to obey the laws of Nebuchadnezzar, on the ground that a higher moral law was at stake. It was practiced superbly by the early Christians, who were willing to face hungry lions and the excruciating pain of chopping blocks rather than submit to certain unjust laws of the Roman Empire. To a degree, academic freedom is a reality today because Socrates practiced civil disobedience. In our own nation, the Boston Tea Party represented a massive act of civil disobedience.

"We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was "legal" and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was "illegal." It was "illegal" to aid and comfort a Jew in Hitler's Germany. Even so, I am sure that, had I lived in Germany at the time, I would have aided and comforted my Jewish brothers. If today I lived in a Communist country where certain principles dear to the Christian faith are suppressed, I would openly advocate disobeying that country's antireligious laws."

And of course there are the apostles who caution us to wait, insist now is not the time and predict we can only hurt ourselves by being forceful in our actions and demands for freedom. Listen carefully to these words. Please savor them carefully:

"...who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro (LGBT) to wait for a "more convenient season." Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.

"I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and that when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress. I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that the present tension in the South is a necessary phase of the transition from an obnoxious negative peace, in which the Negro (LGBT) passively accepted his unjust plight, to a substantive and positive peace, in which all men will respect the dignity and worth of human personality. Actually, we who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. We bring it out in the open, where it can be seen and dealt with. Like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with all its ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its exposure creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured."

This courageous action yesterday, may be just the thing that is needed to galvanize serious, coordinated, and effective support for LGBT rights, and allow hitherto suppressed anger, and even rage, to come forth and result in increasing levels of meaningful and coordinated grassroots and organizational activism.

Lt. Dan Choi and the others may well be the catalysts to finally galvanize the LGBT civil rights movement into a serious force that exponentially increases the momentum toward full equality!
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Thursday, March 18, 2010


Before chaining himself to the White House fence, Lt. Choi made a speech, part of which is as follows:

Hello. My name is Lt. Dan Choi. I am being discharged from the US Army because I am gay and dared to say it out loud.

Today, I am here on a mission with Capt. Jim Pietrangelo, and we are asking you all to join us. We’re calling you to action because we are at a turning point -- a moment in time where talk is no longer enough, and action is required.

Equality is not going to happen by itself.

You have been told that the President has a plan. But Congressman Barney Frank confirmed to us this week that the President still is not fully committed to repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell this year.

And if we don’t seize this moment it may not happen for a very long time....

I also read that Robin McGehee of Get Equal was also arrested.

Towleroad reports:

Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese was reportedly nowhere to be seen during the Choi action either.

HRC released a statement this afternoon, offering an excuse for why Solmonese and others stayed at the rally (was there any rally left after Choi left?) and did not accompany Lt. Choi and Captain Pietrangelo:

"Today more than 1000 people showed up at a rally - 500 of which signed up to become more involved in the fight to repeal 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell.' Joe Solmonese along with Eric Alva and others felt it was important to stay and engage those at the rally in ways they can continue building the pressure needed for repeal. This does nothing to diminish the actions taken by Lt. Choi and others. This is the nature of social change and everyone has a role to play."

We need the Lt. Chois, the Jim Pietrangelos, the Robin McGeehes! Also, as far as I'm concerned, and have long felt, the HRC is far too timid as a civil rights organization.
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Wednesday, March 17, 2010


This article bodes well for hate-speech and the possibility of civil litigation for LGBT people. I'm especially interested in the possibility of civil suits (and, hopefully, criminal suits) against stridently homophobic clergy who have contributed so much to the suffering, suicides, fractured families, assaults, and murders of LGBT people.

Part of the above cited article reads as follows:

In a 2-1 ruling Monday, the Second District Court of Appeal in Los Angeles said the violent language of the message - threatening to "rip out your ... heart and feed it to you" and to "pound your head in with an ice pick" - conveyed a harmful intent that is not protected by the right of free speech....

The case is one of the first in California to examine the boundaries between free expression and so-called cyber-bullying. The court majority said a message that threatens physical harm, even if it wasn't meant to be serious, loses its First Amendment protection and can be grounds for a lawsuit.

Although this case is restricted to "cyber-bullying," it may well have ramifications for rhetorical bullying of all types, and nowhere is such bullying more endemic than in many churches within the institutional Church.

That's why I've often said that one of the best types of grassroots activism that can be engaged in is to select one stridently homophobic church in each city or jurisdiction, and continuously peacefully picket that church during its services; tell passersby how that church is defaming LGBT people and corrupting the Gospel that it falsely says it preaches.

In this connection, rather than engaging is such meaningful activism, I find it quite pathetic when I read, for example, of the Carroll Garden "kiss-out" as perceived "activism." This "kiss-out" was held in response to the attack against a young gay man by a gang of five men who, all during the attack, were shouting anti-gay slurs at him. This attack occurred in the Carroll Gardens neighborhood of Brooklyn.

The following is a brief video of the "kiss-out":

To my mind, this type of "activism" smacks of frivolity and/or exhibitionism where anti-Gay discrimination is being used as a vehicle for self-promotion that accomplishes absolutely nothing, save for the false belief that something of substance was accomplished.

Picketing homophobic churches, demanding equal rights in the streets and in the courts, demanding that the Human Rights Campaign become more aggressive in fighting for equal rights for LGBT people, and contributing to Lambda Legal and other legal groups that are fighting for full and equal rights, are what are needed.

During the African American Civil Rights movement, Sit-Ins were essential to demand equality!

"Kiss-outs," on the other hand, are pathetic and anachronistic imitations akin to the embarrassing Million Fag March that can do nothing but either be irrelevant or, in the latter case, retard and even spit on the very serious struggle for equality that serious activists seek!
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Monday, March 15, 2010


Alvin McEwen writes:

His [Scott Lively's] comments to the audience about how it's not right to laugh at the murder of a gay man is the equivalent of an arsonist setting a fire and then yelling at the fire to die down.

This audience is obviously rabidly anti-gay and Lively is instigating more anti-gay hysteria by falsely claiming that gays are corrupting the United States. The implication is obviously "if you don't do something, this corruption will happen to your country."

And again it accentuates my point.

I personally refuse to believe that Lively did not know that the Ugandans would react so negatively to his lies about the gay community by creating that bill.

[For the full article, see here.]

McKewen previously wrote:

It was Lively who was one of the Americans who spoke in Uganda about the so-called "dangers of homosexuality" during a conference last year. The bill was introduced several months after this conference.

Now as the furor gets larger, Lively is trying to duck the much deserved blame due his way. He told ABC News in a recent news cast that he never saw the bill coming and he would support it if the death penalty portion was dropped.

[For the full article, see here.]

Part of Scott Lively's Letter to the Russian People, written in 2007, reads as follows:

The purpose of my visit was to bring a warning about the homosexual political movement which has done much damage to my country and which has now taken root in Russia. This is a very fast-growing social cancer that will destroy the family foundations of your society if you do not take immediate, effective action to stop it.

Homosexuality is a personality disorder that involves various, often dangerous sexual addictions and aggressive, anti-social impulses. This combination of factors causes homosexuals to have an intense loyalty to each other and a common goal to change any society in which they live in organized �gay and lesbian� communities. They have no acceptance in a society that restricts sex to heterosexual marriage, so they work to eliminate sexual morality and remove all limitations on sexual conduct. Importantly, their initial strategy is not promote homosexuality, but to spread sexual immorality among heterosexuals, especially the young people. Only later, when the culture has become sexually corrupt, do they openly step forward to take power as the natural leaders of such a society.

Reactionaries who profess to be "Christians," have contributed untold damage to LGBT people in the world and, as in the case of the attempted Ugandan genocide of Gay people, strident homophobic professing "Christians" wash their hands of the fallout from their rhetoric that is spewed and acted upon in the name of "God," of "Christianity," the "Bible," and of "faith. Indeed, they often have the temerity to portray themselves as the victims in their screeds regarding Gay people!

In addition to preaching a false gospel of exclusion and judgment, all the while bearing false witness against Gay people, they add insult to injury by absolving themselves from the fallout of their homophobic rhetoric and discriminatory actions; even act surprised when laws are sought to imprison and even execute Gay people based upon such rhetoric and actions.

Listen to the following:

We must make a clear distinction between Christians who profess and live out the Gospel of grace, faith, love, peace, reconciliation and inclusiveness on the one hand AND people who call themselves "Christians" who spew hateful rhetoric that has contributed to untold sufferings, suicides, assaults, and murders of God's LGBT children!

Even a cursory reading of the New Testament, particularly the Sermon on the Mount, shows the latter group to be heretics who not only bear false witness against Gay people, but defame both the Gospel and God in so doing!

If Jesus made anything clear, it was that all those who are His disciples are to love God and to love and not judge other people!

And it's high time that Christians who are worthy of the name, disciples of Christ who take the Gospel seriously and who take Jesus' life, ministry, and teachings seriously, heartily condemn the wolves in sheep's clothing who have done untold damage to both Gay people and their families, as well as caused untold damage to the name of Jesus and to the Gospel of Christ!

And again I ask: "Where are the clergy in most of the institutional Church, and why are they not expressing outrage at the heretics in our midst who have the indecency to use the name of God in judging and condemning God's LGBT children?"
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Sunday, March 14, 2010


Between their lessons on literature, music, and art, the pupils at Brazil’s new Escola Jovem LGBT (LGBT Youth School) can learn the fine art of “hairography” and “clothing customization” while also taking part in what may be the gayest glee club the world has ever seen.

[For the full article, see here.]

If homophobes designed a school according to their perception of what it means to be a gay male, this would be the kind of curriculum they'd put in place. This is an outrage, pure and simple!!!! Most of the commentators who responded to this article also saw it as an outrage, save for one who referred to himself as a "fag," among other pejorative terms.

Embodying the homophobic stereotype of gay males as uniquely effeminate, and neglecting the broad spectrum of gender expression that is shared with Straight people, consigns gay men to the netherworld of "deviant."

This example of playing into the hands of one's oppressor is part and parcel of the phenomenon of using the very same hateful epithets that one's oppressor uses as self-identifiers, and falsely and foolishly thinking that their use is somehow justified.
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Saturday, March 13, 2010


Archbishop Desmond Tutu wrote an excellent op ed piece in the Washington Post entitled, In Africa, a step backward on human rights, part of which reads as follows:

Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people are part of so many families. They are part of the human family. They are part of God's family. And of course they are part of the African family. But a wave of hate is spreading across my beloved continent. People are again being denied their fundamental rights and freedoms. Men have been falsely charged and imprisoned in Senegal, and health services for these men and their community have suffered. In Malawi, men have been jailed and humiliated for expressing their partnerships with other men. Just this month, mobs in Mtwapa Township, Kenya, attacked men they suspected of being gay. Kenyan religious leaders, I am ashamed to say, threatened an HIV clinic there for providing counseling services to all members of that community, because the clerics wanted gay men excluded.

I urge you to read his whole article.

The profound tragedy of the attempted genocide of Gay people in many parts of Africa, is magnified by the silence of many self-styled professing Christians and clergy throughout the world.
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Friday, March 12, 2010


[Thanks to Towleroad.]

It's a tragedy for a young Gay person like Constance to have to suffer discrimination for merely wanting to be authentic, and take her girlfriend to the prom; be put in the position where she is blamed by other students for the prom being cancelled.

It's also a tragedy when a school board can cancel a prom that means so much to the high school graduates and cynically state that Constance wanting to take her girlfriend to the prom was not the reason for the cancellation. The statement by the school board that it wouldn't host the event "due to the distractions to the educational process caused by recent events" but didn't mention McMillen, is disingenuous on its face. Apparently, "the educational process" they advocate is discrimination against Gay people!

Thank God for good parents:

McMillen said she didn't want to go back to the high school in Fulton the morning after the decision, but her father told her she needed to face her classmates.

"My daddy told me that I needed to show them that I'm still proud of who I am," McMillen told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. "The fact that this will help people later on, that's what's helping me to go on."
(See here.)

There is a lesson to be learned here, in addition to the need for us to teach children to be authentic. The major venue for acquiring equality for LGBT people is in the courts!

Forget about trying to appeal to "the milk of human kindness" as we've pathetically seen in having Prop. 8 and other such propositions put to a vote of the electorate!

Most money and energy must be put to fighting for equality in the courts!
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Thursday, March 11, 2010


[Thanks to Joe My God.]

As I wrote regarding the above video:

Beyond what has been eloquently stated before by other commentators, my concern is also largely based on the silence of so many professing "Christians" in the U.S. and elsewhere against this obscenity. For a holocaust against Gay people to largely go unaddressed, let alone roundly condemned, by all professing Christians shows the corrupt and calloused state of most all of the institutional Church, and by most of those who profess to be "Christians." God's grace, the very heart of the Gospel, is nowhere to be found among these haters who hypocritically claim the very name of God as "justification" for their atrocities, and externalize the hate in their hearts by appeal to the "threat to the family," and to the "threat to Christianity," all of which are downright lies that are mere rationalizations that show the proponents of this hate to be nothing short of demonic.
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Monday, March 8, 2010


Movies and TV shows with gay characters could be ineligible for a "family-friendly" tax credit in Florida under a little-noticed provision tucked into a $75 million incentive package that Republican House leaders hope will attract film and entertainment jobs to the state.

The bill would prohibit productions with "nontraditional family values" from receiving a so-called family-friendly tax credit. But it doesn't define what "nontraditional family values" are, something the bill's sponsor had a hard time doing, too.

"Think of it as like Mayberry," state Rep. Stephen Precourt, R-Orlando, said, referring to The Andy Griffith Show. "That's when I grew up — the '60s. That's what life was like. I want Florida to be known for making those kinds of movies: Disney movies for kids and all that stuff. Like it used to be, you know?"

[For the full article, see here.]

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli: “It is my advice that the law and public policy of the Commonwealth of Virginia prohibit a college or university from including ’sexual orientation,’ ‘gender identity,’ ‘gender expression,’ or like classification as a protected class within its non-discrimination policy absent specific authorization from the General Assembly,” he wrote. Colleges that have included such language in their policies — which include all of Virginia’s leading schools — have done so “without proper authority” and should “take appropriate actions to bring their policies in conformance with the law and public policy of Virginia." (See here.]

In fact: Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell's campaign to make sure that every LGBT person can be fired for being gay is expanding to his state's public universities. (See here.)

And, of course, there is the Obama Justice Department aggressively affirming DOMA in federal court, even linking its need with the specter of incest and pedophilia should it be overturned; the Obama administration dragging its heels on rescinding DADT; Obama not signing a stop/loss executive order so that Gay military personnel wouldn't be discharged for being admittedly Gay; allowing same-sex marriage, or any civil right, to be put to a vote of the electorate; the continuous defaming and lies perpetrated by assorted professing "Christians" and politicians regarding Gay people; the erroneous appeal to selected verses of the Bible to erroneously and irrationally seek to justify hateful rhetoric that bears false witness and discrimination against Gay people.

It seems to me that the humiliation, indignities, and patent inequality visited upon LGBT people is about to reach a critical mass that demands (and will result in) expressed outrage in the form of meaningful, coordinated grassroots and organizational activism!

Frivolity; reveling in second-class sexual outlaw status and subcultures; demeaning and defaming oneself by use of pejorative and hateful words as self-identifiers; making nice with strident homophobes by trying to reason with them; allowing clergy and politicians to gain power, prestige, and wealth on the backs of LGBT people; in any way sticking a finger in the eye of potential Straight allies; giving credibility and money to homophobic churches by attending them; giving money to LGBT rights organizations and many professional "activists" that merely content themselves with being in proximity to influential politicians and drink the Kool Aid of feel-good rhetoric devoid of substantive civil rights gains, all the while frequently making a handsome living by so doing; allowing civil rights to be put to popular vote rather than having them adjudicated by the courts where they rightfully belong; settling for crumbs of incrementalism, such as Domestic Partnerships, Civil Unions, and the like; denying the fundamental importance of the institution of marriage for same-sex couples; settling for anything less than the very same civil and sacramental rights that heterosexuals enjoy, are both retarding the cause of full and equal civil rights and also giving tacit permission for ignorant and/or mendacious clergy and politicians to externalize the hate in their hearts by using LGBT people as their targets for that hate.

Regardless of rhetoric or seeming "gains," separate is not equal!

Unless and until LGBT people and allies demand full equality for LGBT people, and do so in a coordinated and sophisticated fashion as occurred in the African American Civil Rights movement, increasing indignities, and even rescinding of some civil rights, will occur, as the strident homophobes will become increasingly emboldened in direct proportion to the psychological, social, and political lethargy of those whose very humanity and civil rights are on the line!
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Friday, March 5, 2010


Dan Savage, in his advice to someone who wrote to him regarding her sex life: ...your boyfriend is a fag.... (See here.)

I've written many times before about how use of such hateful words such as "fag" as self-identifiers by LGBT people not only betrays unconscious and/or conscious shame and self-loathing, but betrays one's acceptance of, if not contentment with, one's perceived "deviant" status" in society, and apparent acceptance with being viewed and portrayed as a "sexual outlaw" who has no desire to be part of mainstream society, and apparently couldn't care less about acquiring equal rights for Gay people that heterosexuals enjoy.

Moreover, the use of such words as "fag," "queer," "dyke," etc., are both counterproductive and traitorous to the acquisition of equal rights as they, along with assorted indecent public portrayals of what it means to be Gay, stick a finger in the eye of potential Straight allies as well as jurists who are contemplating the rights of same-sex couples to be married, and other such rights affecting Gay people, both now and in the foreseeable future.

My good friend Don Charles wrote a rebuttal to Dan Savage in regard to the above cited article, and with his permission I am reprinting his email to Savage here.

It is very important to understand that if one is concerned with equal rights for LGBT people that Don Charles' email to Savage be taken very seriously. The fallacy of thinking that the use of derogatory epithets as self-identifiers are somehow "liberating," "edgy," and "empowering," is a very disturbing myth that both betrays one's fallacious thinking as well as betrays the struggle for equal rights that LGBT people deserve.

Here is Don Charles' email to Dan Savage:

Mr. Savage:

You and your friend Tristan Taormino have a bad case of Homophobe Mouth: You never saw a sexual slur you didn't like! In your latest column (responding to Needing Oral Tonight), you're at it again, slinging the word "fag" around like it doesn't mean anything. Would you please knock it off? Saying "fag" and "dyke" like a mischievous third grader may be big fun for you, but believe me, those words aren't fun for people who live in the Bible Belt, especially the inner city. As you doubtless know, your sex column is very popular in urban areas. For gender-non-conforming folk (homosexual, bisexual or transsexual), those words often come at them on the sneering end of a fist, a foot, a baseball bat or worse. Seldom does a month go by when I'm not called a "fag" by somebody. Never once does it cross my mind to agree with my tormentors! I'm just arrogant enough to believe I deserve respect; and that "reclaiming slurs" stuff is a bunch of bullshit. I don't feature soiling my dignity by picking up the oppressor's garbage. Please stop normalizing hateful language! It's ignorant. Stop helping bigots feel comfortable with their bigotry.

Don Charles
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Thursday, March 4, 2010


In describing his superb latest four-part post entitled, Life During Wartime, that appears on his exceptional blog, Christ, The Gay Martyr, Don Charles emailed the following:

It is hard to do your own thing, and most people don't! They conform to the status quo, even if it's corrupt. The majority of LGBT folk conform, especially those who fancy themselves the most radical thing since seafood pizza. Society tells them that they're deviant, so they claim deviance. Society tells them that they're promiscuous, so they act promiscuous. Society tells them that they're fringe, so they distance themselves from the mainstream. Society excludes them from marriage, military service, religious faith, etcetera, so they adopt political stances that decry all of those things. My friend, Rev. Jerry Maneker, has coined a name for them: they're Happy Perverts, willingly buying into the pariah status that cruel heterosexists have created for them. What they get out of it is the right to call themselves culture rebels. In exchange, they give up dignity, integrity and justice. I'll be damned if I ever do a business transaction like that!

Christ, The Gay Martyr, the Gay-affirming Christian blog that reveals inconvenient truths, will become inactive soon. As the end draws near, the polemics of blogmaster Don Charles "Stuffed Animal" get hotter and hotter! The penultimate post is called "Life During Wartime", and you've never seen anything like it. There's never been an essay like it! Part One is media criticism. Part Two is Bible study! Part Three is political strategy; and Part Four is manifesto. "Life During Wartime" will make you angry, make you laugh, make you cry, and make you argue. It will make you think of what you never wanted to think about. As a matter of fact, it will blow your mind out and completely rock your world. Don't miss four sizzling pages of powerful punditry, now online at Christ, The Gay Martyr.

Here is a very brief sampling of Don Charles' no holds barred, courageous, and incisive four-part post that analyzes LGBT status and issues that every single LGBT person and LGBT rights activist owes to him/herself, and to future generations, to read in its entirety:

Knowing how hazardous it usually is to live as a perceptibly LGBT person outside the western world, it infuriates me to see how frivolously and recklessly American Gay people behave! For too many of us, equality goals pale in comparison to the next circuit party, the next steamy porn video, the next over-the-top Pride parade, or the next personal appearance by Kathy Griffin. We totally take for granted the relative freedom we enjoy, and seem clueless about how quickly it could be taken away. It happened before, in Weimar Germany during the 1930s. It could easily happen again! All that's necessary is a combination of grave economic times and angry, demoralized masses. Beware! Under such circumstances, citizens are quick to embrace reactionary agendas. What do you bet that when our power-hungry Bible bigot enemies see us acting out, they don't also see the word "scapegoat" written across our Pride banners in huge letters?....

Upon my death, I hope God will also reveal to me the names of all the prominent people in my lifetime who were Gay. If He does, I have no doubt that another theory I hold will be conclusively proven: That civilization could not exist without us! When I see the vast numbers of politicians, scientists, theologians, journalists, philosophers, business tycoons, visual and performing artists, national leaders, war heroes, doctors, lawyers, teachers, social workers, public servants and pioneers of all kinds who were and are secretly homosexual, and I take stock of their many contributions to society, I know they will dwarf those of every other minority group! There won’t be a single social class, discipline or movement that we haven’t penetrated and distinguished ourselves in.

Please read Don Charles' four part seminal post at Christ, The Gay Martyr
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Monday, March 1, 2010


The province's highest court has overturned a Saskatchewan Human Rights Tribunal decision [in Canada] against a religious activist who distributed anti-gay pamphlets in Saskatoon and Regina in 2001 and 2002.

Bill Whatcott will not have to pay the $17,500 in compensation the tribunal awarded in 2005 to four people who had complained his flyers exposed them to hatred, three members of the Court of Appeal ruled in a Feb. 25 decision.

Whatcott's pamphlets -- one of which was entitled Sodomites in our Public Schools -- used crude and offensive language, but they were protected by freedom of expression provisions in the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code, the decision says.

[For the full article, see here.]

To in any way limit freedom of speech is a slippery slope, yet we know that speech can be deadly to those who are victimized by that speech, particularly when that speech is demeaning and/or hateful against one or more minority groups.

Indeed, in Britain, the European Convention on Human Rights says that "Everyone has the right to freedom of expression." Yet, "it adds that governments can restrict free speech for, among other reasons, in the interests of national security, preserving public safety and for the prevention of disorder or crime." (a See here.)

In the U.S., where freedom of speech is virtually limitless, there are also limitations. I came upon an interesting case, Korb v. Raytheon, where the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled against the plaintiff, and its reason for so doing is instructive:

Although Korb has a secured right to speak out on matters of public concern, and he has a right to express views with which Raytheon disagrees, he has no right to do so at Raytheon's expense. Korb was hired to be an advocate for Raytheon. After he spoke, he lost his utility as Raytheon's advocate. Raytheon therefore determined that, in such circumstances, it would no longer pay him to be its advocate. That business decision was not an interference with any secured rights. Korb is free to express whatever opinions he wishes. Raytheon need not pay him to do so. (See here)

Notice that last sentence: "Raytheon need not pay him to do so."

When religious institutions are tax-exempt, the taxpayers are paying those religious institutions to do what they do; if they seek to deprive any group of equal rights, and/or defame any group, and/or in any way discriminate against any group, the taxpayers are helping to subsidize discriminatory rhetoric and acts.

So, when a pastor castigates Gay people from the pulpit, you and I are helping facilitate him/her to do so! When a denomination contributes multi-millions of dollars to prevent acquisition of equal rights for Gay people, you and I are helping them do so!

In 1940, in the case of Cantwell v. Connecticut, part of the U.S. Supreme Court decision reads as follows: "Under the constitutional guaranty, freedom of conscience and of religious belief is absolute; although freedom to act in the exercise of religion is subject to regulation for the protection of society. Such regulation, however, in attaining a permissible end, must not unduly infringe the protected freedom. Pp. 303-304 " (See here.)

"The protection of society" is crucial for the freedom of speech enjoyed by religious institutions; their tax-exempt status is largely contingent on their role in facilitating such protections. Building hospitals, building universities, helping the poor, and other such good works are desirable manifestations of the religious impulse and do help protect society. "The protection of society," however, is hardly consistent with hate-mongering rhetoric, discrimination, and advocacy of discrimination against any minority group in the civil arena.

Regulation of freedom of speech of religious institutions is only necessary to attain "a permissible end," and there is no justification to see hateful speech, discrimination, and advocacy of the denial of civil rights to Gay people as being anything other than an impermissible end and a clear threat to our society!

It's hard to imagine that the tax-exempt status of religious institutions and their right to free speech was ever envisioned to involve hate-mongering rhetoric and actions and, often, donations of huge sums of money, designed to limit or rescind any group's civil rights!

Indeed, regarding tax-exemption of religious institutions:

...In 1924, the [U.S. Supreme]Court noted that "[e]vidently the exemption is made in recognition of the benefit which the public derives from corporate activities of the class named, and is intended to aid them when not conducted for private gain." Many years later, the Court, in upholding the constitutionality of the tax exemption for religious organizations, observed that "[t]he State has an affirmative policy that considers these groups as beneficial and stabilizing influences in community life and finds this classification [tax exemption] useful, desirable,and in the public interest." (See here.)

Homophobic churches and pastors are clearly not "beneficial and stabilizing influences in community life!" They help create and facilitate discrimination, hate, and hate-mongering that can cause suicides, assaults, and murders of LGBT people which are clearly not "beneficial or stabilizing influences in community life" by any stretch of the imagination!

As I wrote in an article entitled, Why Every Church Must Be Open And Affirming:

Make no mistake, every drop of blood shed by GLBT people either through suicide, bashing, or murder, are on the hands of all those religious leaders, their followers, and their allies who spew forth their ignorance, prejudice, and hate against GLBT people and their relationships! These wolves in sheep’s clothing take the Bible, God’s love letter to His children, and selectively and perversely use it as a club to condemn others, and deny GLBT people full inclusion in the Church and in society.

For such churches and clergy to enjoy the benefits of tax-exemption, thereby indirectly benefiting from tax-payer monies to engage in their dastardly rhetoric and deeds in defaming and discriminating against Gay people; indirectly use our money to limit and prevent acquisition of equal civil rights to Gay people, is a gross offense!

There must be a concerted effort on the part of such organizations as the Human Rights Campaignand Lambda Legal to bring this issue before the courts so that homophobic religious institutions no longer benefit from tax-exempt status.
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