Tuesday, May 31, 2011


In the interview by the Washington Blade of Don Lemon entitled, Proud to be out, an interview I strongly urge you to read, the following is mentioned by Don Lemon:

But when the backbone, the structure of the community has been so associated with the church, it’s even doubly more imprinted on your being and on your psyche.

It seems to me that this is the major difference between the African American Civil Rights movement in the 1950's-60's, where the Black Church was usually behind the fight for equality, and the current LGBT Civil Rights movement. And it's a gigantic difference.

Now, the Black Church is usually against the fight for equal rights for equality by LGBT people; even resent the comparison between the two Civil Rights movements.

Hence, the lack of church and community support for LGBT people and this struggle, which leads to low self-esteem and lack of organization counted on in the Black Civil Rights movement in the 1950's and 1960's.

African Americans had role models right in their own families, churches, and neighborhoods; people who would affirm them as people of worth. Most of their churches saw their struggle for equality as they did Moses leading the children of Israel to the Promised Land.

In the LGBT Civil Rights movement, it is rare for a young Gay person to have role models in his/her nuclear family and what LGBT people exist in his/her church and neighborhood are usually closeted.

This is one of the reasons why the fight for equality for LGBT people is much more difficult than it was for African Americans, as self-esteem among the former is far less than it was among the latter; consciousness of kind was far greater among the latter than it is the former.

Therefore, we can't count on the Black churches to help lead the way toward the Promised Land of equality for LGBT people, just as we can't count on predominantly White churches to help lead the way for LGBT people to reach that Promised Land of equality.

Unlike the Black Civil Rights movement, it will have to be secular forces within society, both at the organizational and grass roots levels, that will have to lead the way among LGBT people whose identity is neither affirmed nor respected within those institutions with which they are most intimately involved and familiar.

And it is this reality that will make the fight for LGBT equality even more difficult than it was for our African American brothers and sisters!
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Thursday, May 26, 2011


UPDATE, 5/27: Rockford Catholic diocese to end adoption programs over same-sex civil unions.

The following post is a repeat of the post I wrote last February 9th, as I feel it is worth repeating here:

A couple of years ago, I received the following email from the American Family Association. It read as follows:

Dear Rev. Dr. Jerry S.,

"ESPN and its parent company, ABC, have refused to take any action against ESPN anchorwoman Dana Jacobson for her hateful, slurring remarks against Jesus, saying 'F-- -- Jesus.'

"On January 11, Jacobson was speaking at a celebrity roast in Atlantic City, N.J., when she unleashed a profane tirade, saying, 'F--- Notre Dame,' 'F--- Touchdown Jesus' and finally 'F--- Jesus.'

"'Touchdown Jesus' is the popular moniker for a statue of Jesus raising his arms, located on the Notre Dame campus.

"Catholic League president Bill Donohue spoke with ESPN about the attack and received an e-mail from Jacobson which basically treated the incident as a non-event. The statement said, in part, 'I respect all religions and did not mean anything derogatory by my poorly chosen words.'

"Jacobson's comments were at a public event where she was representing ESPN.

"The fact that neither ESPN nor ABC has taken any action against Jacobson indicates they have a bias against Christians. Donohue said that Jacobson should be fired.

"This anti-Christian bias of the networks is becoming commonplace. Actress Kathy Griffin used her appearance on the Emmy Awards program to tell Jesus to 'suck it,' responding to athletes who thank Jesus when they achieve certain levels. No action was taken against Griffin."

Although I find the "popular moniker" for the statue of Jesus at Notre Dame to be defamatory, as it trivializes Jesus, I also find the statements made by Dana Jacobson and Kathy Griffin, as reported by the AFA, to be defamatory, showing the contempt that they may well have for Christianity. They have no apparent qualms that their defamatory statements would offend their listeners.

And, the unfortunate fact is that it is very likely that increasing numbers of people would not be offended by their statements as reported. And that likelihood is due to the fact that we have allowed as spokespeople for Christianity to be what used to be until recently "the fringe" within the Christian community.

What was the fringe a mere thirty years ago has largely overtaken much, if not most, of the institutional Church and most all clergy, and other professing Christians, have not condemned the hate-mongering and hateful rhetoric that has been spewed from all too many pulpits against LGBT people. Indeed, the history of the institutional Church is replete with its being enmeshed with the most reactionary forces within secular society, being their spokespeople, affirming their hatred and exclusion of assorted minority groups, and being in the vanguard in the oppression visited upon LGBT people.

This reality has caused untold numbers of intelligent, sensitive, and decent people to distance themselves not only from the institutional Church but from Christianity itself, as these people falsely believe that the fringe, the haters, the homophobic clergy speak for Christianity and speak for God. Indeed, many Christians have distanced themselves from the institutional Church and, as in my case, do not even go to church any longer, unless it is a church that embraces all of God's children.

Christianity is largely held in contempt by many people because clergy and other professing Christians have not confronted the homophobic clergy for not only preaching the false gospel of legalism, perfectionism, and exclusion, but for perverting Christianity to be in accordance with their own prejudices and, frequently, hate-filled hearts.

Moreover, those who profess to be Christians, by their mere attendance in churches that have homophobic clergy as their pastors, have lent credibility to those clergy, and have affirmed and encouraged the homophobic hatefulness that has been spewed for all too many years. And such clergy have also emboldened assorted politicians and others to either to engage in homophobic rhetoric themselves or, just as hatefully and cowardly, helped prevent almost all politicians to be against full and equal civil rights for Gay people.

The image of Christianity has come to such a sorry, distorted, state that it is very likely that if you even mention the word "Christian," the first word that would likely come into another person's mind would be the word "sin." The crying shame is that the word "love" would not likely be the first word that would come into people's minds when the word "Christian" is used.
I don't merely blame the homophobic clergy for this state of affairs, but I also blame cowardly professing Christians for allowing these clergy to speak for Christianity, for the Church, and for God, and to do so with impunity!

The very fact that homophobic clergy and others know that most people will not confront them for the anti-Christian sentiments they express partakes of the same dynamic as the defamation of Jesus by some people in the media. Both groups of people fail to know what Christianity truly is, and that is because the living out of the Christian life is so infrequent; the exposition of the Gospel of Christ is similarly infrequent; they know that their target audiences are likely to view their hateful sentiments favorably.

The only Gospel to be found in Christianity is the Gospel of grace (God's unmerited favor), faith (trusting God over and above seen circumstances), love, peace, reconciliation, and inclusiveness. Anything else is not of God and is, indeed, a distortion and perversion of Christianity!

That's why the word "Gospel" means "good news!" The Christian is liberated from legalism and from the yokes of bondage imposed by mere fallible human beings.

Jesus tells us that we are free! Hear Him: "If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." (John 8:36)

The homophobic clergy and their blind followers, uttering words and frequently acting in discriminatory ways diametrically opposed to the Gospel, show by their rhetoric and actions the facts that they, themselves, are not free, and that they don't seem to have a clue concerning the Gospel of Christ.

Moreover, they also seek to impose yokes of bondage onto others so that other people can be as warped in their theology and in their lives as they are; by so doing see to it that intelligent, sensitive, decent people aren't likely to even consider Christianity as "a reasonable faith" and as a viable way by which to navigate their lives in this world.

Indeed, homophobic clergy and other homophobic professing Christians are doing the devil's work!
And if professing Christians remain silent in this matter, and don't speak out against the perversion of the Gospel and the demonizing of LGBT people, they are not only aligning themselves with these homophobes, but they are showing themselves to be every bit as culpable in doing the devil's work!
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Friday, May 6, 2011



The above is a well thought-out and articulate message for full acceptance of Gay people!

In this connection, the following contains some of the quotes I made in an interview for an article that appears in this week's edition of the "Chico News and Review," entitled, "Is Homosexuality a Sin?", by Jerry Olenyn:

One who is unafraid to speak his mind is the Rev. Jerry Maneker, a retired professor of sociology at Chico State and an ordained Christian minister.

Maneker posts a blog online called “A Christian Voice for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights.”

He compares gay rights to the civil-rights movement of 50 years ago. “In 40 years we’ll be wondering how it was possible that we could have prevented gays from full participation in the life of the church.”

Maneker goes further. He blames the church for contributing to the high suicide rate among gay teens, stating that ministers who preach that homosexuality is sinful, or who remain silent amidst homophobic rhetoric, have “blood on their hands.”

He says clergy—no matter their tone or earnestness—who preach that homosexuality is evil engage in hate speech.

“There are different degrees of hate speech,” Maneker said. “But ultimately these ministers give permission to whack-jobs to feel free to kill and bash gay people because they think they’re doing God’s mission.”

Of course, I stand by those comments in which I fervently believe. Some other ministers called my contentions "absurd," which is to be expected by those who allow their preconceived prejudices, based on ignorance and/or hate, to trump the Gospel of grace.

I have no doubt that full integration of Gay people in every aspect of secular and institutional Church life will follow the trajectory of the full integration of African-Americans in the United States!
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Wednesday, May 4, 2011


The following post is an article that appears in my column, "Christianity and Society," in the "Sacramento Valley Mirror":

Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes. (Haggai 1:6)

You’ll notice I entitled this article, “The Church in America,” rather than “Christianity in America, as there is a world of difference between “churchgoers” and “Christians”; between “the religious” and “the spiritual.” Of course, there is some degree of overlap between the two, but it is my perception that that degree of overlap does not go anywhere near to approaching 100%.

The institutional Church and its enmeshment with Americanism, patriotism, jingoism, militarism, and capitalism can not be underestimated, as can be seen when an atheist and/or socialist has no chance of becoming a viable presidential candidate; when candidates for political office must be seen going to church. Their spiritual lives are irrelevant, as can be seen when Ronald and Nancy Reagan allegedly consulted psychics to determine assorted decisions, but they had to be seen attending church to be considered “Christians.”

To add insult to injury, most of the institutional Church not only doesn’t speak to crucial spiritually involved human rights issues of the day, but usually acts as an apologist for the power elite that frames the arguments and parameters of our perceptions of those crucial issues that are thereby serving to diminish the civil rights and civil liberties of most people in society, particularly those in the lower and middle classes.

As Christians, we are not to side with the “elites” but with the “rebels” who seek to make this a better world, a world, to use St. Augustine’s words, that should be “a colony of heaven.” And disciples of Christ are to be those rebels who seek to institutionalize godly virtues, and fulfill Jesus’ two great Commandments to all who would be His disciples: the love of God and the love of one’s fellow human beings.

In his superb book, “Death of the Liberal Class,” Chris Hedges speaks to this inherent conflict between the elites and the rebels: “The elites and their courtiers in the liberal class always condemn the rebel as impractical. They dismiss the stance of the rebel as counterproductive. They chastise the rebel for being angry. The elites and their apologists call for calm, reason, and patience. They use the hypocritical language of compromise, generosity, and understanding to argue that we must accept and work with the systems of power. The rebel, however, is beholden to a moral commitment that makes it impossible to compromise…The rebel is not concerned with self-promotion or public opinion. The rebel knows that, as Augustine wrote, hope has two beautiful daughters, anger and courage—anger at the way things are and the courage to change them. The rebel knows that virtue is not rewarded. The act of rebellion justifies itself.” (p. 215)

And disciples of Christ are to be rebels against the demonic and all forces that pit the elites against the have-nots! And the elites who fervently seek after power, prestige, and wealth are often those very people who attain and maintain those goals by use of assorted nefarious, if not demonic, forces.

Moreover, the elites frame the perceptions of most people so that “…the prophet is a fool, the spiritual man is mad, for the multitude of thine iniquity, and the great hatred.” (Hosea 9:7b) And the hatred, the contempt, the sinfully laissez faire attitude of so many toward the poor, the sick, and the needy in our society is both palpably obvious and palpably obscene.

And where is the Church in America amidst all this unrighteousness? It is all too often the major apologist for all of this unrighteousness, or else it remains silent amidst this unrighteousness!

How is the institutional Church in America addressing our military intervention in all too many countries; our precipitous economic decline; the duplicity of most politicians; the dumbing down of higher education; the multi-millions of dollars that are spent buying people’s votes; the political rhetoric that seeks to deny medical care to others? The answer is that it is often in cahoots with the power elite by being its apologist either through its rhetoric, its silence, or through its insipid rhetoric that shows its pathetic irrelevance.

Most of the institutional Church does not speak to the needs of people, especially the have-nots in society! When was the last time we heard from the institutional Church that there must be universal health care for people; we must not engage in so many of the wars in which we are currently engaged; we must build shelters for homeless people; we must put the needs of American workers before the desire to export jobs to other countries?

The institutional Church is both dangerous and pathetically irrelevant! Notice its absence by Hedges from the list of disciplines and institutions that can be instrumental in helping to hold back the destructive tide emanating from the power elite: “We will have to grasp, as the medieval monks did, that we cannot alter the larger culture around us, at least in the short term, but we may be able to retain the moral codes and culture for generations beyond ours. As those who retained their identity during slavery or the long night of twentieth-century fascism and communism discovered, resistance will be reduced to small, often imperceptible acts of defiance. Music, theater, art, poetry, journalism, literature, dance, and the humanities, including the study of philosophy and history, will be the bulwarks that separate those who remain human from those who become savages.” (p. 196)

As it currently exists, the structures and functions of most of the institutional Church consigns it either to alignment with the enemies of the desires of God’s heart or to complete irrelevance!
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Sunday, May 1, 2011


The Obama administration wants a federal appeals court to maintain the ban on openly gay servicemembers until the Pentagon is ready for them, probably by the end of the year, and to reject a demand for an immediate halt to "don't ask, don't tell," The San Francisco Chronicle reports. [For the full article, see here.]

The "retraining of current troops," and this kind of delaying tactic, is a death by a thousand cuts, and is virtually guaranteed to heighten the likelihood of assaults and even murders of gays and lesbians within the military.

The President sets the tone of the nation, and is commander-in-chief of the military, and the tone he is setting is one of hand wringing that lends credence to the erroneous view that there are two legitimate sides to this issue of "integration," and that mere tolerance will one day be required of troops toward openly gay and lesbian military personnel. And requiring mere "tolerance" under these conditions is likely to place Gay military personnel at further risk of discrimination.
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