July 26, 2008

Bishop Robinson: "We Are Not Going Away"

A conservative Anglican bishop called for Bishop Gene Robinson to step down this past week. Bishop Robinson responsed to that in a way that put the issue of his ordination and service in perspective:

From the Christian Post:

"Those calling for my resignation seem to be under the impression that if Gene Robinson went away, that all would go back to being 'like it was,' whatever that was! Does ANYONE think that if I resigned, this issue would go away?!" New Hampshire Bishop Gene Robinson said Wednesday in his blog.

"We are not going away, as much as some would like us to," Robinson added, referring to gays and lesbians.

They SHOULDN'T go away! GLBT people have just as much right as anyone to a seat at the table of the Lord, and therefore should have equal opportunity to serve in a ministry capacity.

It's really a very simple issue, but never underestimate the power of organized religion to make things very complicated.

July 25, 2008

Link of the Day: Jesus Politics


My interest in Jesus goes back to when I was born in Brazil where my parents were Southern Baptist missionaries. Jesus Politics is a collection of readings from the Christian right to the Jesus left.

Newsweek on the Lawrence King Murder

The cover story on this week's edition of Newsweek magazine was an investigation into the background regarding the murder of high school student Lawrence King back in February.

Click here to read the article.

Over at Box Turtle Bulletin, Timothy Kinkaid was very disappointed with the nature of the article and the writer, Ramin Setoodeh, who was assigned to it:

To Setoodeh, Larry was the primary source of disturbance on campus. He wore makeup and “thought nothing of chasing the boys around the school in [high heels], teetering as he ran.” He was “a troubled child who flaunted his sexuality and wielded it like a weapon”. “He went to school accessorized to the max” and would “sidle up to the popular boys’ table and say in a high-pitched voice, “Mind if I sit here?””

If there were any residents of Oxnard that didn’t view Larry as a prancing mincing menace intent on wreaking havoc on all around him, Setoodeh didn’t seem to find them. He found instead an attorney with a “gay panic” defense, a litigious adoptive father who resents the gay community for caring about Larry’s murder, and several teachers who objected to his effeminate ways.

In short, there’s very little in the Newsweek article that would not seem more at home on World Net Daily or a press release from the American Family Association.

Setoodeh may have let inexperience and limited input sway his judgment into writing a hit piece on the victim. He is, after all, an odd choice for an in depth article about social interactions in an elementary school. His prior articles appear to consist primarily of celebrity interviews and entertainment commentary.

But though Setoodeh had not written substantive work for Newsweek before this, it is not the first time that he has shown awkwardness around the subject of homosexuality.

I don’t know Ramin Setoodeh’s orientation or his personal tastes or biases. Nor do I know his reasons for writing an article that serves as little more than a press release for the defense on this murder case.

But whatever his motivations, it is clear to me that he was tragically under-qualified for the job and his lack of experience showed in his use of language and in his final product.

Unfortunately, I concur with Kincaid's take. While this article certainly doesn't condone the act of murder, in my opinion there was a strong element of "he asked for it" throughout the piece.

If Setoodeh had written that about a woman who had been raped and then killed, he'd probably be unemployed, and likely deservedly so.

Sadly, that approach still seems to be okay when the victim is gay, especially one who had the nerve to be flamboyant about it.

July 24, 2008

MySpace Friend of the Day: Give Love Give Life


Give Love Give Life is an attitude focused on the health of women and children, about what we have in common – women and children. This is not about our differences – political, class, racial or religious. This is not about whether we are from the left or from the right. This is not about whose fault it is.

This is not about whose medicine is the best. This is not about our differences. We all have our differences. Give Love Give Life is about what we have in common. Too often in the chaos of the world we are in, there seems to be a programmed focus on our differences, and this focus on our differences is perpetually being emotionally manipulated to the point that we no longer remember what we have in common. We are human beings. It is time to think together and show responsibility to the women and children.

What About "The Will of the People" Now?

One of the most tiresome arguements against same-sex marriage and extension of other legal rights to GLBT people is that it goes against "the will of the people," as if rights for minorities should be determined by the will (or whim) of the majority.

So why aren't those same people speaking out in favor of ending the "don't ask, don't tell" policy in the U. S. military? That's just a rhetorical question, I know the answer--because it doesn't suit their biased, narrow-minded views. At least on this issue, it appears a majority of Americans have grown beyond that and embrace GLBT people's rights to serve and defend their nation.

From Pink News:

A new survey by the Washington Post and ABC News has found that three-quarters of Americans think that openly gay, lesbian and bisexual people should be allowed to serve in the military.

64% of Republicans and nearly two thirds of self-described conservatives backed a change in the current law, as did 57% of white evangelical Protestants and 82% of white Catholics.

It was Republican opposition that forced then-President Bill Clinton to abandon his pledge to allow gay people to serve and signed into law the compromise known as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

Since 1993 gay people who do not reveal their sexuality can serve, and commanding officers are not meant to ask service personnel about their sexual orientation.

More than 12,000 gay men and women have been discharged under the current law, at an estimated cost of more than $363 million (£182.6m).
The new poll of 1,119 Americans, taken earlier this month, shows how support for gays in the military has steadily increased, from 44% in 1993 to 62% in 2001 to 75% today.

Click here to read the rest of the article.

July 23, 2008

Link of the Day: International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission


The mission of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) is to secure the full enjoyment of the human rights of all people and communities subject to discrimination or abuse on the basis of sexual orientation or expression, gender identity or expression, and/or HIV status. A US-based non-profit, non-governmental organization (NGO), IGLHRC effects this mission through advocacy, documentation, coalition building, public education, and technical assistance.

"Christian Beliefs" vs. Job responsibilities

From PinkNews UK:

Two leading gay Christian organisations have said that an employment tribunal victory for London registrar Lillian Ladele is "disappointing."

The tribunal ruled that Ms Ladele had been discriminated against by employer. Islington Council, because of her refusal to carry out civil partnerships for LGBT couples on the grounds of her orthodox Christian beliefs.

Ms Ledele originally swapped with colleagues to avoid performing gay and lesbian ceremonies after civil partnerships became legal in 2005.
After formal complaints were made against her, an internal disciplinary investigation began.

I respect Ms. Ledele's right to her beliefs, but to use them as an acceptable reason not to perform the required functions of her job is troubling and, I fear, a very slippery slope.

How far can this principle be taken? What religious beliefs are allowable to avoid execution of someone's job and what ones aren't? Who can truly make an objective decision like that without having their religious beliefs influencing it?

It seems clear to me--if your professed religious views prevent you from fully performing your job, it's time to find another job and allow someone with different beliefs, ones that comply with the law, performing that one.

Click here to read the entire report on Pink News.

July 22, 2008

MySpace Friend of the Day: Lifelong AIDS Alliance


Lifelong AIDS Alliance is committed to preventing the spread of HIV, and to providing practical support services and advocating for those whose lives are affected by HIV and AIDS. We are the largest AIDS service organization in the Pacific Northwest, serving more than 3,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in Seattle/King County. Visit www.llaa.org for more information about Lifelong.

This organization is also involved in Seattle's AIDS Walk on October 4, 2008.

Praise Report from BCF 7/21/08

Greetings BCF Family & Friends,

What a joy and blessing it is to be the Apostolic Pastor of Believers Covenant Fellowship! I just want to take a moment to thank all of you for the ways you remembered my birthday yesterday and honored me with your love and gifts. I am especially touched by the poem that Ray wrote and Erica did such a beautiful work framing for me. Thank you all soooo very much! It is an awesome privilege that I take very serious to be your Apostle and your friend. God bless you!

And thanks to everyone around the country and world who sent e-cards or left voice mail messages! Such a myriad of diverse renditions of "Happy Birthday!" LOL!! I loved them all!

We had a wonderful service and a great time together yesterday, as always! The Holy Spirit was pressing us to move past blockages and hindrances to entering in to His presence. I know that the enemy has been working overtime to try to get the Church to be in offense, unforgiveness, and strife with others. The Lord reminded us of exactly WHO our enemy is, and it's not people! We are determined to obey the Lord our God, and live free of strife, especially within Father's House. You know, we each have GOT to make that determination and stick with it, don't we! Reconciling with someone doesn't necessarily mean that the relationship is automatically restored to what it had been....we've learned that trust is earned, loyalty is built, love grows....over time and consistency of hearts. BUT we must keep our hearts clear of strife with others, for faith worketh by LOVE, and strife stops up our love walk!

Yesterday's worship was powerful in leading us to make those decisive steps....and the blessing of His presence flowed! We love the Lord sooo much, He is always soooo good to us.

It's also exciting to tell you that we received 7 new members into covenant with us yesterday! We have 5 more to take in next week, and a blessing to bestow upon Brother Rick and Brother Tim as they move to Puerto Rico to start "Barefoot Church on the Beach" ministry! This is exciting, and we want to support their labors and efforts for the King. Brother Rick will be speaking to us about reaching the Harvest; We must be good stewards of God's Harvest and bring it in!

So don't miss next Sunday service!

After service, the congregation surprised me with a beautiful buffet lunch which we all indulged in! The Peanut Butter Cake was totally the bomb!!! I had the last piece for breakfast this morning! :-) (I know, diet, diet, diet....but it's my birthday!) Thank you for all the love and effort each of you put in to making the day special. Just seeing how much you all love and care about one another makes it wonderful.

Don't forget Friday night Movie Nights at BCF, 6:30 and 9 PM showings. And this coming Thursday is very special as we witness Brother Ray and Sister Wanda Green's recommitment ceremony! They are celebrating their 7th Anniversary, and want to have their BCF family and myself to lead them in recommitting their lives to one another! Another awesome testimony of how the Holy Spirit is leading and directing our lives in His righteousness.

Have a wonderful week, we are praying for each of you, please continue to hold us up as well.

Shalom-nothing missing, nothing broken!

In Christ's love and faithful friendship,

Ap Dale

July 21, 2008

Link of the Day: Religion and Gays


A Non-Sectarian, Non-Partisan Service of the Florida GLBT Democratic Caucus

Religion is the genesis of the controversy, both the beginning and the framework in which the intense debate is waged .

What one believes religion teaches about homosexuality is often the partition that divides those who support gay rights and those who do not. People of strong faith are on both sides.

By providing links to a wide variety of websites it is our hope we might increase the knowledge and improve the understanding we have for each other. While other faiths are included, there is an emphasis on Christianity because in the USA thatis the religion that drives the discussion .

Civil Union vs. Gay Marriage... one person's perspective.

Got this from our friends at Bella Online. For the entire article, go to:


Civil Union verses Gay Marriage

"Is there really a difference when it comes to civil unions and gay marriage? What is in a simple word? Is there really a case that one is better over the other? Why should it really matter if we get the rights we want in the end? I will tell you why it matters.A Gay Marriage is essentially MARRIAGE! There is no way to get around the meaning of the word. A marriage is a marriage is a marriage is a marriage. Plain and simple, and to the point. You have all the rights and responsibilities of any other married person. However, you will not be recognized by the Federal Government because of DOMA of course. Maybe someday, but not now! You also have to remember you can only get married in Massachusetts. Lonely life there in good ole Mass!

A Civil Union is not a Marriage. It is like comparing apples to oranges or salt to sugar. It is like oil and water; they do not mix and cannot be used interchangeably. What is it really? Simply enough a civil union is a simple contract recognized by the state (if your state has it) that gives you the “feel” of being married. In that state, and that state alone, unless of course your state also recognizes out-of-state issued civil unions, you will have the “honor” and “privilege” of being in an almost “marriage”. You will be responsible for each other. You can file joint state taxes. You can have children together and be responsible for them if your union is dissolved. You can go in your partner’s room and make medical decisions for them if they are incapacitated. An almost marriage, but not a “real” marriage..."

I can see their point. I, personally, would be willing to accept civil unions because I know that there are still a LOT of straights (and gays for that matter) in this country who are very uncomfortable with gay marriage, but don't have any issue with us having civil unions. Is it fair? No! However, it is more than what I have now. Call that settling. Call it giving in. I call it a step in the right direction.

July 20, 2008

A Different Look

I hope you like the new format for this blog. After a little over three years, I thought it was time to redecorate, and blue has always been my favorite color.

I've also added "My Blog List" which will provide news updates from some of the sites I use as primary sources for my posting. As I move into a full-fledged pastoral role at my church, I probably won't have time to comment on as many current events as I have been, but I want to make sure this blog continues to be a valuable resource for anyone interested in the GLBT community and faith so I including news items right from the source.

Next week, I'll also be adding a new feature, "Affirming Church of the Day," which will rotate with the "MySpace Friend of the Day" and "Link of the Day" features I recently added. I'll be featuring affirming church websites that are rich with sermons and other valuable information.

Thanks for your continued interest, support, and prayers. I am praying for you.