Jul 142014
 
This entry is part 7 of 9 in the series Daily Douche
Robert Jeffress (R Pharisee)

Robert Jeffress (R Pharisee)

Perhaps nothing is more troubling to me at this time in my life than the insertion of religion into politics. Mega-Church pastors become political pundits, and it never comes to a good end.  Thomas Jefferson himself wrote in 1813, “History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes.” Robert Jeffres, appearing on Fox News, suddenly decides he’s a border security expert, and that whole thing about “suffer the children to come unto me,” well, that’s just for white protestant children.

We have an influx of children making their way to the U.S. from a number of embattled Central American countries. These are countries with grinding poverty and raging drug wars in which it is nearly impossible for children to hide from. In most of these cases, the parents are sending these children, knowing the dangers of the journey, but believing that what lies on the other side is better enough to be worth the risk.

It is stunning how today’s “godly folk” use the Christian moniker yet act in a ways diametrically the opposite of the principles announced by Christ and the behavior he exhibited if one believes the Gospel narratives.  Christ’s focus was the poor and down trodden and he socialized with the outcasts of the society of his day.  The main targets of Christ’s condemnation?  The Pharisees who we see reincarnated in today’s conservative Christians who are best known for their hypocrisy and utter hatred towards anyone who doesn’t think, look and love like they do.  Continue reading »

Feb 122014
 

I’ve meant to comment about the Coca Cola Super Bowl Ad for a while. I’ve never seen such a disgusting exhibition of hate and bigotry as erupted on social media from some Uhmerikans after this beautiful ad aired. Americans (especially conservative Americans) have proven they don’t know a damn thing about American history or what it is to be an American.

This ad had nothing (let me repeat that NOTHING) to do with politics, immigration, or official languages. Glenn Beck tried to say it was a statement to “divide” people.  He tried to perpetuate this idea that this was an “in your face” statement where, as Beck said, “…if you’re offended by it, you’re a racist.  If you do like it, you’re for immigration.  You’re for progress.  That’s all this is: to divide people.” (We can’t be for progress for God’s sake.) Continue reading »

Feb 052014
 

Last year, I was forced to file a complaint with the Bishop about hateful and dishonest actions by Bruce Toms, the newly appointed Pastor at Palma Ceia United Methodist Church. At the time, I was told by several Methodist Ministers to not have high expectations; that the Bishop’s first reaction would be to protect the institution; and his second would be to protect the elder. That came true, with a letter from the Bishop making some intellectual contortions that defy belief.

In the end, the Bishop concedes the statement of welcome adopted by the Church in 2011 was not a violation of the Discipline; that a Pastor cannot unilaterally undo the “legal” actions of a Church Council; but still, somehow, managed to find an excuse to side with Toms. Below, is my response to the intellectual gymnastics.

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Bishop Kenneth H. Carter, Florida Episcopal Area, United Methodist Church

Dear Bishop Carter:

I know you are aware that I am not at all satisfied with the response you have provided. It’s less about your findings, and more about the logic on which you seem to have based the determination. Much of the reasoning stated in your letter would call into question the integrity of the recollections of me and the other lay members involved in the 2011 process, and that’s just not acceptable to me. I know these people to be of the highest moral character, and I know Bill Josey’s recollection of many events to be substantially different than that of everyone else involved. So that’s just not going to go unanswered.

Therefore, I intend to respond to your letter of findings in some detail. You can disregard it if you wish, obviously, but it is important to me and the others involved to respond.

“The question of justice and grace in relation to gay and lesbian Christians is a matter of great importance. It can be approached missionally, pastorally, judicially and legally. Our Book of Discipline affirms the sacred worth of every person (161f) and our commitment to be in ministry “for and with all persons (161f). These affirmations are placed in the context of the Social Principles, which, “while not to be considered church law”, are nevertheless “a call to faithfulness and are intended to be instructive and persuasive in the best of the prophetic spirit” (Preface).”

We all know that 161f is part of the Social Principles and therefore not church law. However, Bruce Toms used it in his now “classified” and secret PowerPoint presentation to make his point that the former (as you call it) statement was in violation of the Discipline. So, since he did nothing wrong, the other sections of 161f would carry the same weight he seemed to give, would they not? In other words, use of the Social Principles was a door opened, not by me, but by Toms. Continue reading »

May 192012
 

Candle in the darkI’ve been thinking back over the time I got spend recently at the quadrennial General Conference of the United Methodist Church held here in Tampa this year. It was a big event, and it was a mess from a church polity standpoint. Like Congress, little of great substance was accomplished, and few longstanding issues were resolved, but that may be a good thing.

I’d like to take some time to reflect on some of my experiences as a volunteer there, and as someone who wound up being involved in a demonstration that resulted in one of the morning plenary sessions being cancelled.

Among some other things I did, I especially liked handing out the daily newspaper, and was approached two of those days by female ministers (interestingly enough) who wanted to know how I got involved with RMN, and then tried to “straighten me out.” They had apparently been to some program where they had some musician give testimony about coming out of “the lifestyle.” I also think they had been provided a script because they both started the conversation with the same question, “How did you get involved with that group?”

I explained to one of the ministers that I understood someone could decide to get married and not have sex with a member of the same-sex, but that did not mean that person had changed. She said, “Well, he has nine children now, so I think that says something.” I responded with, “Well, you know, that’s just a skill, and we gay people are very talented. We can pick up skills quickly.” That’s when she decided she’d talked to me long enough.

The other female minister rocked my world with an unexpected response. My primary response to people who talk about it being a choice is to explain to them that there have to be at least two options for it to be a “choice.” So that means, if they believe I could wake up tomorrow morning and decide to find women attractive, they could wake up the next morning, and decide to find people of the same sex attractive to them. That would constitute a choice. Well, believe it or not, this Minister responded that, yes she could, she could even remember the exact summer and the girl with whom she could have made that decision, but she resisted. I decided to let that one slide, because all I could muster at that moment was a feeling of sadness for her, for having made the choice to deny who she was for her entire life.

I just as well get in my 2 cents worth, as everyone else, friend and foe, has expressed an opinion about the protest. The difficulty is, they all are, to some degree, correct. Some thought it wrong and disruptive and possibly turned off some people. On the other hand, sometimes you have to call something out for what it is. I don’t think I would have crossed the bar, had it not been for the African Delegate comparing my life to that of an animal. Sadly, I think the net effect of the protest action could be zero, but I just really don’t know.

I’d like to note a personal campaign I’ve been waging of late. Whenever I read stupid things the hate crowd spouts about gay people, I try to find a way to contact them, and ask them to “say it to my face.” (You can read about my favorite one here.)

I had a conversation with the Bishop presiding at the time. I walked up to the daïs before he could leave and called him out. I told him that I was not raised to sit in the back of the church bus, and that he should not expect I would sit by and watch as a delegate from that same church stood up on the floor of a General Conference and compared my life to that of an animal, and worse, that the presiding officer would not gavel him out of order, and remove him from the hall altogether. I pointed out that had I been a delegate and said the same thing about the Africans, he would most certainly have called me out of order. (Personally, I think there should be some consideration of a letter writing campaign to that Bishop providing personal stories, and pointing out a disappointment in his lack of leadership.)

For me, one of the good things that came from this experience was a lot of thinking about the future of the Methodist Church, my place in it personally, and what I need to do about it. On the day after the action I was discussing it with my partner. He’s not Christian. He asked me, as he often does, a challenging question. He asked, “So why do you stay in a Faith that makes you uncomfortable?” He’s a master of the obvious.

After having to think about that for a while, the answer I gave him was that a sound faith doesn’t make one comfortable. That faith is, in fact, there to make us uncomfortable. It’s that uncomfortable state that drives me to be my better self; that makes me want to change the world; to make things better for others; and especially as people called Methodists, to take a stand for social justice. It is my faith that makes me so uncomfortable I have to work to do justice. It’s my faith that makes me uncomfortable when I see injustice, or people hurting, and it is that uncomfortable feeling that moves me to act.

I spent four weeks teaching a Sunday School study on Micah 6:8. One of the things I learned in preparing the study (We teach best what we most need to learn is a fundamental truth in my experience.) is that all the commandments in it are actions…things we are supposed to “do,” not things we are supposed to believe. When you think about Micah 6:8 and the Great Commandment from Jesus, it’s never about doctrine, it’s about something you are expected to do, and it’s often something hard, and something that makes you uncomfortable…”do justice; love mercy, walk humbly with God; love your neighbor; turn the other cheek; love God; pull the splinter from your own eye.” “In as much as you have DONE it unto the least of these.” It’s always about having to do something. That’s faith. Faith isn’t a belief God will take care of us, it is faith that calls us to do right, even (maybe especially) when it’s hard. It is in true faith we are called to take care of others.

Paul wrote about this in his first letter to the Thessalonians, “We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1:3) Paul’s not a big fan of “works,” but here’s one time when he talked about “work produced by faith.”   And it’s written about in John 14:12, “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” If one has faith, one can DO. True and honest faith is always causing us to do something, working to make us uncomfortable with the status quo.

Dr. Martin Luther King was an obvious person to inform my thoughts these past weeks, and he said this about faith, “Faith is taking the first step even when you can’t see the whole staircase.”

I believe too many people today are looking for religion to make them comfortable. So, we bend the gospel to talk about prosperity, when faith really calls us to relinquish our material wealth and follow Jesus (follow, another of those darned action words). We bend religion so that we can exclude people we imagine to be different from us…women, slaves, people of color, Muslims, and of course LGBT people, even when the Bible tells us, “come unto me all ye…” I always thought God actually did mean “all.” We bend religion to justify yanking away the social safety net, when Jesus says, “in as much as you have done it unto the least of these…” Continue reading »

Oct 102011
 
This entry is part 18 of 30 in the series Gay Marriage

It appears that folks at the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), Maggie Gallagher’s personal hate group, is collecting stories of town/county clerks from around New York State who feel put-upon for having to follow the state’s law that all couples are equal under the State’s Marriage laws. As they collect their videos of the horrible (horrible I say) persecution caused these people by being expected to do their civil duties under state law as Agents of The State, we’ll look at them under the light of a Constitutional Republic which is ruled by law, not religion.

We’ll start with Rose Marie Belforti. According to Rose, “this may be the first time in her life she’s had to receive persecution.”

Let’s start with the her statement of “may be.” Apparently she’s not sure, but she certainly wants to make it sound that way, and then there’s the thing about “receiving” persecution. I didn’t know it was sent along in a package via UPS, but, maybe that’s the way the new form of the marriage licenses got to her.

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Rose used to have an idyllic life after moving to the rural Ledyard, NY where she builds barns and is the part time town clerk. It’s a town of 2,000 where the record number of marriage license in any given year was seven. Rose assures us that she really does love helping people, and she goes out of her way to make sure everybody gets what they need…but gay people, not so much. They are not welcome in the Clerk’s Office in Ledyard.

Also, despite her strong Christian morals, that whole “thou shalt not bare false witness” thing is apparently just a quaint old saying that doesn’t mean much, because Rose’s video here has some whoppers in it.

Let’s start with the part about how the Legislature just “so quickly…no debate,” suddenly gave gay and lesbian people equal treatment under the law. Sorry Rose, this bill had come to the legislature of New York State several times in previous sessions, and it certainly didn’t pass quickly this time, and there sure as hell was lots of debate and protest marches, and plenty of anti-gay vitriol to go around. I guess things move so slow in the bucolic Ledyard (we know it’s bucolic because NOM takes pains to show us chickens and lots of grain fields) the many months seem like a day.

According to Rose, she has a problem administering the new applications because she’s a Christian, and the Bible tells her that marriage is between a man and a woman. Funny thing about that whole biblical marriage thing though, many biblical characters had multiple (and is some cases many) wives. The woman was considered the property of the man, and then there’s the whole thing of a woman having to marry the brother of her husband if her husband dies before fathering a child. So, them’s the rules, I guess, that the N.Y. Legislature took away. So, it’s no longer biblical marriage there in Leyard.

But I guess Rose is OK with all the other stuff about biblical marriage. What has her knickers in a wad is the idea of gay people getting married. She can’t endorse that, and believes the law is wrong…so, even though she is an agent of the State, she thinks she has a right, based on her religious beliefs, to pick and choose the laws she ignores.

To combat this, the Town apparently attempted to accommodate her by appointing a Deputy Clerk. Here’s the problem with that. City Hall is apparently open only during certain hours, and the Deputy Clerk isn’t there during those hours, so, a gay couple who recently attempted to get a marriage license was told they would have to call to make an appointment with the Deputy Clerk, and come back at a different time. Sort of sounds like a little “separate but equal” to me.

Well Rose, I’m sorry, but that just doesn’t cut it in a Republic which is based on laws. You are claiming that your religious beliefs should be accommodated in respect to your actions as an agent of the government, but it is not a reasonable accommodation when you just flatly refuse to provide the services to a certain class of people who are otherwise legally qualified to receive that government service. The State may make a reasonable accommodation for your religious practices, but are under no obligation to make accommodation for your religious beliefs. There is a difference.

But that whole religious objection thing is just a red herring. That shirt she’s wearing is a cotton/poly blend, and we now also know that she has issued marriage licenses to previously married people…something forbidden in her Bible (except that whole marrying your brother-in-law exception), so good ole persecuted Rose isn’t really being persecuted for her Biblical beliefs, she’s having a problem because she has a problem with treating gay and lesbian people equal under the law.

So Rose, get over yourself, and if you can’t fulfill your obligations as an agent of the government, then you have to go…but it’s not unfair, it’s not persecution, and it’s not you being denied your religious freedom…it’s you wanting to be a martyr. There are indeed a few theocracies left in the world Rose, perhaps you should move to one of them.

Sep 282011
 
This entry is part 17 of 30 in the series Gay Marriage

So this GOP State Senator James Forrester who is supposedly a medical doctor (fortunately the sick in his town he’s retired). The batshittery is beyond belief and goes on and on as this blow hard is caught in lie after lie as he tries to hide the animus on which the anti-gay hate bill was based. He was the primary sponsor.

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

Let’s take a look at what he based it all on:

  1. He says in a town hall it’s because gay men die 20 years sooner because of AIDS…blah, blah, blah. OK, so how does keeping gay people from marrying and encouraging monogamous relationships add to that problem?
  2. When called out on it, he first claims he got the info from the CDC. He assumed, because of his medical license I assume, that Michael would just accept that. When he didn’t, the doctor (lower case “d” is on purpose) then tries to say it’s based on his experience as a practitioner. It appears he did have one patient with AIDS at some point. Then he claims he got it out of a book by Frank Turek, a known homophobe who has no medical or scientific background.
  3. At one point he tries to claim he didn’t say it at all, and that it had nothing to do with the Bill, but Michael plays him the tape from his town hall (oops).
  4. Then he gets upset because Signorile is “trying to trip him up.”
  5. Next he claims that he’s just trying to preserve marriage between one man and one woman for over 5,000 years. Well, I guess he can be forgiven since he was a doctor and not a historian. Obviously in many societies men were permitted multiple wives, and for most of that 5,000 years which the doctor seems to remember so fondly, women were not equal parties in the marriage, but property. I’d call that a pretty big change to his “traditional marriage,” but he’d probably like to see it rolled back a hundred years or so anyway.
  6. Then he says he just wants people to vote on it so it can’t be decided by some federal judge (and he does say federal). Well, again, I guess he was too busy dissecting his cadaver to bother reading the Constitution, but if a federal judge rules, it’s lights out for his amendment anyway.
  7. Signorile points out how gay marriage in Massachusetts hasn’t negatively affected marriage, and the doctor’s response to all that is that he’s not an expert on all these things (never mind he presented himself as such during town halls and debates on the topic), and so he can’t answer Michael’s questions because they are biased.
  8. In the end, he claimed he introduced the bill to protect marriage, but when Michael asks him out right, how does it harm marriage, he admits he doesn’t know. Signorile calls him irresponsible…I would call him much worse.

Then despite being the primary sponsor of the Bill, our good doctor ends the conversation by inviting Michael to call someone else and ask them.

Jul 062011
 

I admit to being a little late on this one, but head of SPLC designated hate group Family Research council, Tony Perkins, is just all atwitter about marriage equality passing in New York State. Get this, he’s deeply concerned the law doesn’t “protect” deeply religious “divorce lawyers.” If, as Perkins and the other haters claim, they are just in this to “protect marriage,” why would there be any such thing as a “deeply religious divorce lawyer.” Wouldn’t their deeply held beliefs prohibit them enabling any divorce?

Here’s Ms. Perkins’ entire statement (I did exclude the obligatory solicitation for a contribution…you know, to save the children):

Ms Tony Perkins in her pulpit“[The law] does not protect individuals. It does not protect private business owners. It does not protect, for example, a bed and breakfast owner who is using their own private personal property in the type of intimate setting that a bed and breakfast is. It does not protect licensed professionals. For example, it does not protect counselors. It also does not protect lawyers–you may have a family law attorney who does not want to do a same-sex divorce because of their deeply held religious beliefs. It does not protect fertility doctors who may have a strict belief and only want to help [heterosexual] married couples because they believe a kid deserves both a mom and a dad. The dominos from this decision are just starting to fall. One newspaper is reporting that the New York Department of Correctional Services is already rewriting its rules for inmates’ ‘conjugal visits,’ which will now be open to homosexual ‘spouses.’ Prisons will provide the condoms!” – Hate group head Tony Perkins, via press release.

I left the following snark comment on another blog:

I couldn’t agree more with Ms. Perkins. I think we need to carve out religious exemptions to all these kinds of laws. I should have the absolute right to deny a room in my B&B to those darned Baptists, and Catholics…well there’s no way I should be required to let them eat at my lunch counter, no handicapped people in my pool, and black folks, well they can get a drink out of the water hose out back.  

I’m glad the FRC and Ms. Perkins are on my side on this one. You go girl! Let’s beat back all these equal rights laws and rules.  

[/snark]

Apparently, Ms Perkins is all upset because calling yourself a ‘Christian’ is not a get out of your legal obligations free card. And gay couples might get exactly the same legal rights and government recognition as “opposite-married” ones.  I think I’ve eaten yogurt that had a higher IQ.

The more America expands equal rights to all people, the crazier these haters get. It would be funny if they weren’t dangerously close to cracking in a serious way.

What Would You Do

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May 252011
 

ABC News did one of their “What Would You Do” segments in a Texas diner. They had a lesbian couple with children (actors), and a gay couple with children go in, and a person playing a waitress who began to criticize the couples openly. I must admit, I was heartened by what transpired, and reminded of how important it is to speak out in face of bigotry and inequality. The Texan’s fared better than New Yorker’s.

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

Of course, when the good kristians at the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) saw it, they just couldn’t tolerate the fact that some people are actually opposed to discriminating against gay folks, so they had the following response:

Let’s note first of all that the behavior of the “waitress” in this setup up is outrageous.

The insidious propaganda point from ABC News is the suggestion that millions of good Americans who believe marriage means a man and a woman because children ought to have moms and dads, would or are behaving like this. Shame on ABC.

Be prepared for lot more prejudiced stereotyping of decent and honorable Americans down the road by powerful elites.

Maggie forgets that there is often a grain of truth in stereotypes.

Oct 252010
 

I started attending a Sunday School class at Palma Ceia United Methodist Church a few years ago because a retired minister was teaching sessions on several Methodist related topics in which I was interested. I am the youngest person in the class by quite a few years, but found a great group of intelligent and thoughtful people.

In 2008 I took a resolution to the Administrative Council of the church asking that they adopt a non-discrimination statement. It included all the categories in the United Methodist Social Principles, and that includes sexual orientation. Well you would have thought I’d ask them to torture their mothers’. It was surprisingly ugly. I have, as have most gay people, been touched by the recent spate of suicides by gay teens. We know a lot of the ugly rhetoric comes from “religious” people and religion. So I believe people of faith have a special obligation to try to tamp down the madness, and to send a message, especially, to young gay people that they are loved and welcome.

So, two Sunday’s ago, I was teaching the class (as I’ve done a number of times), and took a few minutes at the end of the class to deliver the following statement. I have been amazed at the outpouring of concern and support, and a number of them are willing to attend the Council meeting with me in November. I will reintroduce the resolution leaving out the section about trying reasonably to deal only with other organizations with similar statements. The council members previously used this as their primary objection.

I don’t remember exactly when I started attending this class, but I came for lessons by Dick Martin on The History of Methodism and The History of John Wesley, and I sort of found a home here at Palma Ceia. And for better or worse, you’ve been stuck with me since.

Despite being an outsider in a number of ways, you all welcomed me, and even allowed me learn a great deal from you. I feel I’ve developed some friendships in here, and I am grateful to have gotten to know each one of you.

I’m coming today though to do something I’m loathe to do, and that is to impose on that friendship. What I’m going to discuss may make some of you uncomfortable, but I can’t apologize for that because I’m going to be discussing something that literally has life and death consequences.

Back in 2008 I went to the Administrative Council calling on the Church to adopt a statement of non-discrimination. It included a call for the church to try to do business only with other business and organizations with a similar statement. There’s nothing in the statement that is not in the Discipline and Social Principles, but it was met, at that time, with a great deal of hostility. I could go into what I believe that to be based on, but that’s no longer the point.

The point now is, as it has been for many years, that children are dying at their own hand because they are being bullied at school. Now we all know that some amount of that is just part of growing up, and children are bullied for many reasons, but studies make it clear that a primary reason is because they are gay or perceived to be gay or lesbian. And just over the past few weeks, six children have killed themselves, and one young man has had his arm broken.

Here’s some information on these kids. I wanted to put a face on this problem. [download id="1"]

And lest you think this is not our problem, I want to assure you that there have been and are kids in our youth group who are gay. When Rev. Mac was here, he had approached me to discuss, without divulging any confidences, gay youth and parents who had approached them for help and support. I have also had occasion to run into some of our youth at gay events.

I think these past weeks caused me to reach a tipping point. I was already fed up with the politicians using lies and distortions about my life to score political points, and by religious people raising money and support for their own false bigotries on my back. I launched my own little campaign called “Say it to my face,” in which I do my best to get in touch with some of these people, or someone on their staff, and call them out on their comments. I don’t know if I accomplish much, but it can be fun sometimes, and I feel better.

I’m over 50 now. I experienced some of that bullying growing up, and I’ve experienced discrimination in my religious and professional lives, but there’s not much left that can hurt me. However, my heart has been ripped out by these recent events, and it’s time for some adult leadership, because many of the so-called adults, wrapping themselves in the cloak of a false Christianity need to realize their words have consequences. Their words make a group of people, “the other,” and it’s always easier to hate and violate people not like us. The dehumanizing bigotries that fall from the lips of some people, even some who claim to be “Christians,” and the lies that spew forth from some public figures give children a license to verbally abuse, humiliate and condemn the gay children they encounter at school. And many of these straight children—having listened to mom and dad talk about how gay marriage is a threat to the family, will destroy society and how gay sex is awful, and gay people are worse than terrorists (all things have been said publicly)–feel justified in physically attacking the gay and lesbian students in their schools. You don’t have to explicitly “encourage children to mock, hurt, or intimidate” gay kids. Encouragement—along with hatred and fear—is implicit. It’s here, it’s clear, and we can see the fruits of it.

So I’ve had enough. I can’t change the world, but I can work to change my little corner of the world. Remember, during the Warren study, I said I had figured out my purpose in life…to leave things a little better than I found them.

I am no longer going to sit by and allow bigots to eat at the souls of the gay youth of this community. I am returning to the Administrative Council at their next meeting in November to re-submit this resolution without some of the additional requirements. ([download id="2"])We at this church need to send the message to our youth, and to the broader community that all are welcome here at this House of God…that everyone, but especially our youth, are loved and respected, and are children of God.

Regardless of how you feel about gay people, you can’t believe it’s OK for children to be bullied to the point they see suicide as their only option. Dr. Warren Throckmorten, a conservative evangelical said it very well:

“As a traditional evangelical, I may have some differences of opinion with my gay friends. However, such ideological differences don’t matter to a middle school child who is afraid to go to school.

There are many such children who need adults to care more about their well being than about religious differences. Adults need to focus on common values of respect and civility and take the culture war off the school campus.”

He goes on to say, “It seems to me that people of faith should lead the way in providing safe and respectful environments for all. To do this, you have to be there and you have to name the problem to solve it.”

If you remember when we concluded our study of the Social Principles I asked you all to stand, and reminded you of how Martin Luther famously said, “Here I stand Lord, I can do no other.” Well here I stand, imposing on our friendship, because I’m asking you to stand with me…to ensure the children and youth of this church know this is a safe place for them…a place where they are loved and respected and supported for who they are, and where the teaching of Jesus is that all are welcome in his house.

Martin Luther King said, “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” I am asking you to be a friend to these kids, and speak up. I am asking you to join me at that Administrative Council meeting on November 29, and I am asking you to discuss this with your friends, and invite them to join us there.

I do not apologize if it makes you feel uncomfortable because children are dying, and I cannot, as a Christian, continue to stand by silently.

And as Forest Gump famously said, “And that’s all I’ve got to say about that.”

I also provided a sheet with a photo and brief bio of the teens who recently committed suicide.

May 042009
 

I have held off posting on this whole Miss USA conflagration. I thought it mostly much ado about nothing, but now everyone seems to be jumping into the act. Not suprisingly, the krazy kristian kooks are trying to martyr Miss Jugs for Jesus.

Beauty pageants have just never been my thing, so I didn’t watch. I did see the video of Miss California’s answer to the question, and I saw the nasty response video from Perez Hilton. For the record, Hilton’s response was ridiculous, over the top, and uncalled for…and he does not represent most gay people (thank goodness). Get a life for Christ’s sake.

Carrie Prejean’s answer to her pageant question was nearly incoherent. For a minute there, I thought maybe she was channeling Bush. She is entitled to her opinion, and I defend her right to have one. However, I don’t have to respect it (bigotry is wrong, and no amount of silicon and lipstick can make it right), and when you get on a national stage, and can’t put together a coherent thought, when that’s the whole point of the question segment, then it’s also OK to make fun of you.

I have two main problems with this whole thing. First is this attempt by the whole group of professional christians to try to make a martyr of Prejean by implying that somehow she lost the pageant because of her honest answer. Well, bullshit to that. Turns out she was behind in points coming into the question, and even if she said she would be my maid of honor, unless she said it “more gooder” than she did her own answer, she didn’t deserve to win.

It is also an insult to Miss North Carolina, as the flip side of their inference is that Miss North Carolina somehow didn’t deserve to win, and I believe they all owe her an apology for their misguided implication.

I am also tired of this bullshit coming from the professional christians about how oppressed they are. Today, for the most part, it is just not socially acceptable to express racist tendencies in polite company. Does that mean that racists are oppressed? Well, by the definition of the professional christians it means exactly that. They do have a right to say whatever vile and hateful things they want to say, but that does not have to mean that society finds it acceptable to say it or act on it. And it means I can call you out on it. The times they are a changin’, and these people just don’t get it.

Distribution of major religious beliefsIt really is time for them to stop with the “oh we’re so oppressed” drama. Their very claim is that homosexuals shouldn’t have the same rights the straights do since they are the majority, but they sure do assign a lot of power to homosexuals. I just don’t get it, and why in the world the news media plays along I’ll never understand.

So it’s really time for this to be over. Miss Jugs for Jesus has had her 15 minutes, and all the straight boys can drool all over her bathing suit picture. nowwe need to move along to something that is actually important.

Feb 092009
 

Gran Torino Movie PosterWalt Kowalski is a widower, grumpy, tough-minded, borderline-hateful, unhappy old man who can’t get along with either his kids or his neighbors, a Korean War veteran whose prize possession is a 1973 Gran Torino he keeps in cherry condition. When his neighbor Tao, a young Hmong teenager, tries to steal his Gran Torino, Kowalski sets out to reform the youth. Drawn against his will into the life of Tao’s family, Kowalski is soon taking steps to protect them form the gangs that foul their neighborhood.

Genres: Action/Adventure, Drama and Thriller; Running Time: 1 hr. 56 min.; Release Date: December 12th, 2008 (limited), January 16th, 2009 (wide); MPAA Rating: R for language throughout and some violence.

Starring: Cory Hardrict, Bee Vang, Clint Eastwood, Ahney Her, Brian Haley

Directed by: Clint Eastwood

I wanted to see this movie, so we went Saturday night. It wasn’t the worst movie we’ve seen, but I was disappointed. As Ty Burr of the Boston Globe put it, “In the context of Clint Eastwood’s career as a star, an actor, and a filmmaker, “Gran Torino” is an endlessly fascinating movie. If only it were a good one.”

It was kind of an Archie Bunker meets Dirty Harry. I think a valiant attempt was made to tell a real story, and have an impact on how people think about each other. Unfortunately, it missed the mark. Eastwood’s dialogue goes way over the top in attempting to show what a bigot he is. Even when he’s in the home of his new neighbors eating with them, the insults continue to flow non-stop. I respect that the film was unabashed in showing this bigotry, it just went too far in trying to set it up.

If the performances by the supporting cast, mainly the young Asian boy, were stronger this could have made the movie a little better. Vang’s performance really held the movie back, especially during the parts where he and Eastwood share screen time. The young priest in the movie was also pretty weak.

It’s worth seeing, just wait until it is out on video.

Now click on the stars below to let us how you rate the movie, and then use the comments section to tell us what you think.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars6 Stars7 Stars8 Stars9 Stars10 Stars (4 votes, average: 6.75 out of 10)
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