January 20, 2006

A Step Forward in Maryland

A Baltimore Circuit Court judge today struck down Maryland's law against same-sex marriage, offering the opinion that it "cannot withstand this constitutional challenge." The state attorney quickly filed an appeal, meaning that the case will go before the Maryland Court of Appeals. This is essentially the state's supreme court and, one way or the other, is the final stop for this case. A decision from that court is not expected until 2007.

The court also opined, "Indeed, this court is unable to even find that the prohibition of same-sex marriage rationally relates to a legitimate state interest." Apparently this judge agrees with Equality Maryland, an organization I belong to, and other groups that civilization will not be destroyed if gay and lesbian couples can legally marry.

This court decision comes as the Maryland Lesiglature is early in its 2006 session and may consider a state constitutional amendment that would prohibit same-sex marriage. I will join my fellow members of Equality Maryland for a rally at the State House in Annapolis on February 13 calling for the defeat of that measure. For more information, you can check out the Equality Maryland website.

Interestingly, a group of Maryland religious leaders will come together next week to hold their own rally opposing that same amendment. I would be hypocritical if I did not share my discomfort with that. I'm glad they are on the same side of this issue as I am, but their demonstration regarding a political issue while representing their churches is no different than if a group of right-wing clergy coming out to support it.

I've already written at some length about how strongly I oppose the political activism of churches and the leaders that represent them. I would be a lot happier if these clergy members joined the rally on February 13, counting as one person/one voice just like me.

Maryland goverernor Robert Ehrlich, a republican, is on record as believing marriage is meant to be only between a man and a woman. I certainly respect Mr. Ehrlich's right to believe that and teach that value to his children, but it's time to allow grown-ups to chart their own paths and make their own choices, even if they conflict with the governor's value system.

Ultimately, we all have to answer to God about these choices, and I believe we should not be restricted by any state or federal government's definition of who should be allowed to love each other and have legal rights consistent with our commitment to one another.

January 18, 2006


A recent survey by the Barna Research Group asked church pastors what members of their congregations are most passionate about. The leaders surveyed responses, averaged out, showed that they felt 70% of the adults in their churches consider their faith in God the top priority in their lives.

If this were a version of the "Family Fued" gameshow, that answer would draw a loud buzzer noise and an X on the tv screen.

Survey says...only about 15% of adults felt God was their top priority. This was the result of a second survey done concurrently by Barna.

That, folks, is a HUGE disconnect.

The president of the survey company, George Barna, feels that pastors guage passion by looking at numbers such as church attendance. That's quite a dispassionate way of measuring passion, isn't it.

It's easy to paint a story like this in broad strokes and I'll resist that temptation, but it does at least raise questions.

Perhaps in some of these situations, the church membership is taking the lead from thier pastor. In churches where politics are preached and resources are spent to influence judicial nominations and public policy, I can understand where members would wonder if God is their pastor's top priority. If it isn't, and ostensibly that's the basis for him receiving a salary from the church, then why should God be that important to everyone else?

There is no more effective style of leadership than leading by example. Unfortunately, a bad example can lead people in the wrong direction.

I encourage readers to ask this question of their church pastor; is winning souls for Chirst his top priority, above ALL other functions he performs? If it is not, then I emplore you to do one of two things, either try to get a new pastor or seek out a new church where the leader is focused on winning souls for Christ.

If pews and collection plates stop filling up, maybe some pastors will get the message and refocus. Hopefully, the ones who don't get the message will just go away and let someone with a true passion for Christ's agenda instead of their own fill the leadership void.

January 16, 2006

Again With the Homosexual Agenda

CBN continues to hammer away at the movie "Brokeback Mountain", using it as an example of Hollywood's efforts to "gain sympathy, if not outright support, for those practicing the homosexual lifestyle."

The article goes on at great length to negate any positive impression this movie might give people of homosexuals by referring to it as propaganda, and even tries to discredit the success it is enjoying at the box office.

This from the network who is led by Pat Robertson, who in recent months has wanted the president of Venezuela whacked and claimed God was whacking the Prime Minister of Isreal.

This article goes on to detail what it implies is an evil conspiracy to "brainwash" people into thinking homosexuality is an acceptable lifestyle. They quote the author of a book about this subject that was actually titled, "The Marketing of Evil."

Apparently it's okay for "fundamentalists" to work together in conspiracies, like the Justice Sunday event I recently wrote about. Once again, different rules are applied to organizations or groups of people that do not subscribe to the narrow, closed-minded message of right-wing religious leaders like Pat Robertson.

Remember, this is the man who wanted the president of Venezuela whacked and claimed God was whacking the Prime Minister of Isreal. That's okay, but a movie sending a message that two gay men might possibly have some redeeming qualities must be stopped!

This mentality has even seeped into the sports world. Larry Miller, the owner of the Utah Jazz pro basketball team, also owns a complex of 17 movie theaters in Sandy, Utah. He apparently did not know about the content of Brokeback Mountain until asked about it in a radio interview the day it was set to open. According to the ESPN report, less than two hours after the interview was finished, the movie was pulled from his theater.

This is yet another clear example of "fundamentalists" not following the example of Jesus even while they try to jam their version of him down our nation's throat. God operates by one set of rules. Even when Jesus was on earth, while He did not observe all of the laws established at the time, laws which were eventually used as the excuse to crucity Him, He obeyed all of God's rules.

If Jesus is not exempt from God's one, unchanging set of rules, NO ONE IS! That, folks, is fundamental christianity.

As people seek spiritual guidance, they need to carefully consider the agenda of any leader they choose to receive it from. If their agenda is not compatible with the teachings and example of Jesus, run, do not walk, to the nearest exit.