Tuesday, February 28, 2006
I got involved in this human rights struggle back in September when I read in the paper that KnowThyNeighbor.org was going to be publishing the names of the people who signed the petition to end gay marriage. I wondered what the big deal was and why these people didn’t want their names listed, so I went to see for myself. I was shocked to find out that neighbors of mine who live on the same street were among the thirty original signatures. This did not call me to harass them like Ms. Burke would have you believe, but rather it has called me to stand up for what I believe in, becoming a better person in the process. I wish to share my voice to those of the others here in hopes that some good may come of it.
1. The petition process goes horribly wrong when you hire people with criminal backgrounds who are paid per signature to gather outside of their home state and where they have no vested interest in the outcome. See Fox25 News undercover story on KnowThyNeighbor.org for more info.
2. It seems that one group of religious persons has stepped forward and decided that we no longer need freedom of religion, you should listen to theirs, and they are starting to create laws to this effect. Might does not make right, and it makes for poor neighbors. In the words of Thomas Jefferson in his first inaugural address in 1801 once said, “Though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable. The minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression”. You don’t have to believe in what another man calls happiness, and you do not have to practice his ideals in order to appreciate his right to his life, his way.
3. Fear based motivation is being used to herd people into believing gay marriage is going to create social problems, and for the children brought into same sex households. This same argument was used when interracial marriage was new. It never materialized then and if people want to say this is the exception, ask them to prove it. Gay marriage has been in place for nearly two years now, and the sky has not fallen.
4. The religious would have you believe that not only is homosexuality a sin, but that if you support gay marriage you have strayed away from God yourself. I am reminded of how loving people can be, and I believe God would never turn away from someone who lives a good life solely because of their sexual orientation or their decision to live their lives happy with whom they are.
5. This petition is not an act of democracy; it is an attempt to take away the human rights of a minority group without justification or need. It is a vessel of discrimination in and of itself. Its success would only fuel more discrimination and alienation to this minority.
I have been forced to say Ray was my brother in order to see him when I was in the hospital with cancer. Tell me, what I did wrong to deserve what this petition intends?
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
"Keeping a cool head and debating our opponents does not require we compromise our needs. When one person is respectful and the other is not, who looks like the fool?
Secondly, I said that we can sharpen our arguements on those who enjoy finding counterpoints to our reasoning, so that when we talk to those that might listen we would be at our best. Why is that not valuable to you? This is what I am most curious about.
Another point I brought up was that lurkers could read what was said, come to an enlightenment, and even help to spread the word.
Another point I made was that I am not smart enough to see into the heart of a man and tell you I know him like he knows himself. That's why I keep reaching out. I don't know if a man is going to hear me the first or the fiftieth time, but if he eventualy hears me that would be my goal actualized.
Another reason I find value in the effort is that I am a good man, but I know I am not always right. I am willing to hear another man out and listen to see if what he has to say has merit. I would hope that were I confused about a matter someone else would have the courtesy of patience with me as I make a huge change in my belief system.
Lastly the effort yields its own reward. I get to walk away at the end of the day and know that I tried.
The fact that none of these messages have been approached by those who say "Kumbaya" to me has me wondering what direction these people would have us go in. What good advise do they have for us? Talk to ourselves in a warm and friendly enviornment is what I get of it, and it smells fishy to me. If all I do is talk to my fellows of the same cause, how does the message get to those who need to hear it, thus winning over a new allie? The change has to happen within our opponents not ourselves. If all I wanted to do is protect myself from the harsh words of the opponents to gay marriage and overt homosexuality in general I would not have become a gay activist, would I?
Paul Jamieson is singled out as being so bad of a person and so radically right wing that we should not engage him. Isn't Paul more a symbol of our struggle itself? He is our opposition personified. In my eyes he is a man that wants to argue and think. He is very vocal about what he believes and has strong convictions that are hard for him to deny. Many times he is rude, yet so am I. We both have had to apologize for our behavior before. Our thoughts on Paul's motivations for being here vary greatly. The Mark's and Edgar's and Ferdinand's of the world would tell you that they know Paul for you and that you don't need to bother with guys like him because he is just here to insult you and hurt you. I see a man who is in conflict with what is the right thing do to in this situation, so he comes here every day to read and argue with those who he doesn't understand in order to become a better person. Just because we are gay and we see better the injustice of discrimination doesn't mean we are the only ones wishing for a better society.
Paul is symbolic to me in the sense that he represents a microcosm of how to react to opposition as a whole. Stand up for yourself in a dignified, calm voice, and present the facts when you need to, every time you have the opportunity. I see neither need nor reward for shrinking from debate, if there is, enlighten me. The only thing more powerful than the human mind is the human voice.
I have met many people in my lifetime that had a "hard shell" so to speak on the outside, and were actually warm and loving once you get to know them, and they trust you enough to let there guard down. I call them "Americans" and they can be a real pain in the ass when they think they are right, but I wouldn't put my stock in anyone over them."
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
American Family Association opened its airwaves to advocate for executing gays, adulterers, abortion doctors
Summary: Far-right Christian author and American Vision president Gary DeMar was the guest on the February 2 edition of American Family Radio's Today's Issues.
In the past, DeMar has advocated the installation of a theocratic government in the United States in which homosexuals, adulterers, and abortion doctors would be executed.
Far-right Christian author and American Vision president Gary DeMar was the guest on the February 2 broadcast of Today's Issues, a program of American Family Radio, a network of nearly 200 radio stations owned by the conservative American Family Association (AFA).
DeMar denounced "the continual assault on all things religion and, in particular, Christian," and AFA president Tim Wildmon praised him as "one of the best writers out there in the Christian community and thinkers."
In the past, DeMar has advocated the installation of a theocratic government in the United States in which homosexuals, adulterers, and abortion doctors would be executed.
Wildmon invited to DeMar to discuss "the assault on God in our popular culture." DeMar responded by criticizing two television shows on NBC with allegedly "anti-Christian" themes:
DeMAR: Well, of course, as you know, on television we saw the -- what is it The Book of Daniel that was on there? And I understand that there's gonna be something on Will & Grace. I've never seen Will & Grace, but I guess Britney Spears is gonna be on there, and she's doing some cooking show called "Cruci-fixins."
WILDMON: Yeah, that's right, Gary. Of course, The Book of Daniel is an NBC television program, extremely sacrilegious and anti-Christian, and now NBC has announced that an episode of Will & Grace over in April, I think, will feature Britney Spears the pop star --
DeMAR: I think it's pretty much around Good Friday.
WILDMON: Yeah, the day before Good Friday. And she's supposed to play the part of a conservative Christian. Of course, that's the show featuring a homosexual character.
And the name of her show is gonna be "Cruci-fixin's," if you can believe how sacrilegious a network can be. "Cruci-fixin's." It's supposed -- you're supposed to laugh at that because it's a play on the word "crucifixion" obviously.
DeMAR: Right. And of course, we've seen with [the film] Brokeback Mountain and so forth, just this continual assault on things religious and, most specifically, Christian.
I know the ADL [Jewish advocacy group, the Anti-Defamation League] has come out against, you know, prayers that mention Jesus' name in a city -- in Florida, and I know here just in Marietta [Georgia], they've done the same with, you know, no mention of any specific god in these prayers.
I mean, I don't know who in the world they're praying to. And there's a video out that's making the rounds on the Internet: The God Who Wasn't There.
So there's just a daily assault on everything mostly related to Christianity across the board, and Christians need to be prepared for these assaults, especially with their children as they go off to school and, of course, to college, and as they get further and further away from the home.
We as Christians need to be vigilant in answering these rather ridiculous objections to the things of Christ.
NBC canceled The Book of Daniel January 25 after four episodes aired; AFA founder and chairman Donald E. Wildmon said, "This shows the average American that he doesn't have to simply sit back and take the trash being offered on TV, but he can get involved and fight back with his pocketbook."
NBC claimed that the purported Will & Grace storyline of Spears serving as a Christian conservative hosting a cooking show called "Cruci-fixin's" came from "a press release mistakenly issued by the network," and that "neither a script nor story line for the episode in question has been written."
The God Who Wasn't There is a film that, according to a Newsweek article, "irreverently lays out the case that Jesus Christ never existed."
Later in the broadcast, co-host Jeff Shambley told DeMar, "I should mention that I personally appreciate your work. The three-work set God and Government [American Vision, 1990] and Reformation to Colonization [American Vision, 1997] is used in our home school. And I know your work has blessed millions of people."
Tim Wildmon echoed Shambley's praise of DeMar, declaring, "Well, one of the best writers out there in the Christian community and thinkers is Gary DeMar."
DeMar is a leading promoter of an extremist theology called Christian Reconstructionism, also known as Theocratic Dominionism, which, according to journalist and author Frederick Clarkson, "argues that the Bible is to be the governing text for all areas of life -- such as government, education, law, and the arts, not merely 'social' or 'moral' issues like pornography, homosexuality, and abortion."
In his essay, "Theocratic Dominionism Gains Influence," Clarkson stated that under a Christian Reconstructionist government, "[w]omen would be generally relegated to hearth and home.
Insufficiently Christian men would be denied citizenship, perhaps executed. So severe is this theocracy that it would extend capital punishment beyond such crimes as kidnapping, rape, and murder to include, among other things, blasphemy, heresy, adultery, and homosexuality."
As Americans United for Separation of Church and State documented, DeMar wrote in his book, Ruler of the Nations: Biblical Principles for Government (Dominion Press, 1987): "The law that requires the death penalty for homosexual acts effectually drives the perversion of homosexuality back into the closet."
DeMar added: "The long term goal [is] the execution of abortionists and parents who hire them. If we argue that abortion is murder, then we must call for the death penalty."
DeMar further articulated his views during an exchange on an Atlanta radio show in 1991 with liberal Christian activist Skipp Porteous and host Paul Gonzalez:
DeMAR: The definition of Christian Reconstruction is simply this: The Bible applies to every facet of life. That means not just the judicial aspects of life, such as civil government, church government, but business, economics -- every facet of society.
The Bible has something to say about each area. For example, on homosexuals: We do not believe that homosexuals ought to be executed.
The Bible doesn't say that homosexuals ought to be executed. What it says is this: If two men lie together like man and woman, they are to be put to death.
PORTEOUS: What the hell do you think that is?
DeMAR: Well, wait a minute. If a guy comes up to me and he says, "I'm a homosexual," that doesn't mean he's to be executed. If you understand the Scriptures, it says very clearly: If a man comes up to you and says, "I've murdered somebody," that doesn't mean that person ought to be executed.
GONZALES: Oh, so what you are saying, Gary, is, if you catch homosexuals in the act, then the Bible says to execute them.
DeMAR: The Bible lays forth the severest penalty, which would be capital punishment for two men who publicly engage in sodomy.
DeMar continued by stating his nominal support for the death penalty for adulterers and abortion doctors:
GONZALES: If, indeed, the Reconstructionist movement ever made it in America, would you advocate these biblical principles being carried out: the execution of the adulterer, the abortionist, and the homosexual?
DeMAR: I'm saying that they could be implemented, yes.
In September 2005, DeMar spoke at a symposium at The Chalcedon Foundation, a Reconstructionist think tank. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) called the symposium "a preview of a planned speaking tour of Reconstructionism's leading voices ... that will be traveling to non-Reconstructionist fundamentalist Christian churches around the country beginning this winter as part of the Chalcedon Foundation's missionary effort to 'convert' already conservative congregations to full-blown Reconstructionism."
DeMar's Marietta, Georgia-based think-tank and advocacy group, American Vision, which the SPLC lists as a hate group, claims to be "Equipping and Empowering Christians to Restore America's Biblical Foundation."
In 2001, President Bush was expected to re-nominate former American Vision board member and longtime anti-union activist J. Robert Brame III to the National Labor Relations Board; Brame was forced to withdraw from consideration after media reports documented American Vision's advocacy of a right-wing Christian Reconstructionist theocracy.
Sunday, February 05, 2006
Mildred and Richard Loving were married during a time when interracial marriages were illegal. They successfully challenged Viriginia's anti-miscegenation law. (File photo by AP)
At one time it was illegal for a white person and a black person to marry in every state in the union save Vermont.
Anti-miscegenation laws were on the books and enforced as the law of the land in 16 states until 1967. Before then, anti-miscegenation laws were slow to fall by the wayside in other states because of deeply rooted centuries-old prejudices and fear of what mix-raced unions would do to the sanctity of marriage in this country. Sound familiar?
Saturday, February 04, 2006
Summary of 'The New Testament and Homosexuality'
By Robin Scroggs, professor of New Testament, Union Theological Seminary, a happily married heterosexual who has been acclaimed in many Christian publications for his serious research about what the New Testament really says about homosexuality.
Scroggs reason for his research was a discussion of homosexuality by ministers. "I sat amazed as I heard the Bible being invoked in ways that were wholly inappropriate to any canons of biblical scholarship. Perhaps something snapped in me...for better or worse I decided somebody needed to provide resources that would give both clarity and honesty." He says he has no personal interest but sees the tragic results of false biblical scholarship and the tragic rejections of homosexuals in the name of Christian righteousness or even love. It is about time someone spoke honestly about the issue, not just from emotional homophobic assumptions of what the New Testament really says.
- The NT church was not very concerned about homosexuality as a problem, All three instances referring to homosexuality are from preformed traditions, either Greek or Jewish. No single NT author considers the issue important enough to write his own sentence about it! The argument "against nature" is the most common form of attack on pederasty in the Greco-Roman texts. Pederasty involved forced male rape even by heterosexuals and slave boy prostitutes. It says nothing about today's loving homosexual relationships. Even in Romans 1, where Paul integrates the illustration of homosexuality into his larger theological arguments, there is no advance beyond idolatry and pagan vices of 1 Cor 6:9.
- Female homosexuality gets even less attention appearing only in Romans 1, and here with less emphasis than male homosexuality. This is doubtlessly because little was said in the Greco-Roman world about lesbianism, and because in OT law no penalties attached to such female practices. This again suggest pederasty was the vice, not homosexuality in general. In Romans 1 Paul's language "about male homosexuality, must have had, could only have had, pederasty in mind."
- The two vice lists attack very specific forms of pederasty, not homosexuality in general.
Thursday, February 02, 2006
The following material provides background on the development of the Christian Bible. From this page, which deals with the creation of the Old Testament, you can link to further pages on the medieval Bible, on translation of the Bible into English, on More's role in suppressing English translations, and to the Bible Gateway, where you will find various modern English translations.
The Creation of the Old Testament
The books of the Bible that make up the Old Testament were created and assembled over a long period of time. The oldest sections existed in oral form long before they were recorded; in some cases, multiple versions of stories were blended together to create the books we know today. The first five books of the Old Testament contain the oldest material, but the ancient stories were blended with more recent material as they moved from oral tradition to written document. The various threads were drawn together to form the Hebrew Bible in the ninth and tenth centuries AD. Translations into Greek began as early as the third century BC although a complete Greek Bible did not exist until much later.
Biblical scholars trace four different sources for the first five books of the Old Testament in the Hebrew Bible. The earliest of the four sources, known as the Yahwist or J, was first recorded about 950 BC. This material was blended with other material from a source known as the Elohist or E, first recorded a century or two later. Later editions came from a source known as Deuteronomy or D and a Priestly document, known as P. This last source dates from about 538-450 BC. The D source is found only in Deuteronomy and Joshua; the E source begins with the story of Abraham.
The Sources in Genesis
Thus the material that we are reading in Genesis is a combination of material from two sources, J (the oldest source) and P (the most recent source). The two sources are fairly easy to identify by how each refers to God and how these references are translated and printed. The Yahwist uses the Hebrew word Yahweh, generally thought of as the proper name of God; it is usually translated as Lord God or Lord and is traditionally printed in all capital letters (i.e. LORD GOD). The P source, uses the Hebrew Elohim, a more generic term for God, which is translated as God and printed with only the first letter capitalized. Thus, the P source is responsible for the first chapter of Genesis, while Genesis 2 comes from J. The two sources are more blended in the Noah story, but can still be traced by paying attention to the references to God.
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
(2/2/06) — A teenager armed with a hatchet and handgun opened fire inside a gay bar early Thursday, wounding at least three people in what police are investigating as a hate crime. A bartender at Puzzle Lounge told The Associated Press that the young man, dressed all in black, ordered a drink and asked if Puzzles was a gay bar. He finished his drink shortly after midnight, ordered another, then started attacking people, the bartender said.
Police were searching for Jacob D. Robida, 18, Police Capt. Richard Spirlet said. He did not immediately say how Robida became a suspect or release the names or conditions of the three hospitalized bar patrons. The teenager was armed with a handgun and "some sort of cutting instrument" when he began attacking people, Spirlet said. The bartender said the attacker was swinging a hatchet.
After finishing his drink, the man walked to the back of the bar where two men were playing pool, shoved one to the ground, then pulled a hatchet from his sweat shirt and began swinging at the man's head, cutting him, the bartender said. Other patrons tackled the man, sending the hatchet sliding across the floor, but he pulled out a handgun and shot both pool players, the bartender said. He said the gunman also fired at a patron who was leaving the bathroom, hitting him in the chest.
"He was shooting at everyone," said the bartender, who asked to be identified only by his first name, Phillip, because of concerns about his safety. The attacker shoved him as well before running out, Phillip said. He said police found the hatchet and a machete in the bar.
FOX 25 News
This is the type of insanity the religious right promotes when they teach that gays are less than equal. At least in this day and age we are able to distribute information about attacks like these so that they cannot be denied as having occurred.