February 18, 2006

What Is Family?

Two recent news stories brought that question to mind. First, New York state now has a law that gives authority over the burial rights of a deceased person to their same-sex partner over and beyond those of their blood relatives. In another item, there is an uproar in Massachusetts about a book that was introduced into some elementary schools that presented a family headed by same-sex parents as a "normal" family.

Both of these situations have resulted in outcries from those who are railing against the infamous "homosexual agenda" or concerned about defending the "traditional family." I don't know about you, but I have to fight breaking out in a nervous twitch when I see either of those overused, simplistic phrases.

So what is a family anyway? I'll tell you what it is to me.

When my wife passed away in October, 2004, my brother and his partner came down to Maryland from Rochester, NY, then drove with me on a round trip to Illinois for her memorial service. I did not ask them to do that. They stepped up and helped me when I needed it most. On the way home, I began referring to my brother's partner as my "brother-in-law." What they did was beyond an act of kindness, it was an act of love--the type of love that all families should have.

I have blood relatives that I have not spoken to for over a decade. There was no major rift, no bad blood existing, we just live in different worlds. It's okay with me, and apparently it's okay with them. Should I consider them my family instead of my brother's partner?

Only if I insist on limiting myself to "traditional" thinking. The very existence of Jesus and the way he was treated in his time on earth because he did not fit the "traditional" image of the conquering savior shows just how wrong that can be.

February 16, 2006

Hate Radio Syndicated

The next time you hear the American Family Association ranting about something they don't like on television and want to dismiss them as a harmless nuisance, think again.

MediaMatters.org, a media watchdog organization, posted this recent report about one of American Family Radio's programs, "Today's Issues." One of their recent guests, American Vision president Gary DeMar, has previously advocated the execution of homosexuals, adulterers, abortion doctors and, I suppose, anyone else he doesn't like.

The host of the program, Tim Wildmon, praised DeMar as, "one of the best writers out there in the Christian community and thinkers," according to the Media Matters report. Some other amazingly bigoted quotes from Wildmon, the president of the AFE, were referenced in this report.

AFA Radio-waaaaay over to the right

I post this because I had regarded the AFA as a nuisance, possibly with some good intentions but misguided priorities. I have reconsidered that position and now realize these people are dangerous. GLBT people are one of their main targets, but hardly their only one.

I will make a point to not support ANYTHING they are involved with, and I encourage you to do the same. I believe we need to identify those false prophets who spread hate by twisting God's word and counter their message with truth and love.

February 14, 2006

Homosexuality: Try Mulling Over Some Age-Old Questions

I am linking to the follow up column by Bill Sanford, a retired Methodist minister who writes for the Merced, CA Sun-Star.

Here are a couple of examples:

o How do persons who hold the view that the whole of the Bible was virtually dictated by God, manage as a practical matter to affirm some verses and ignore or reject others?

o Think of some gays and lesbians with whom you are personally acquainted. How are they better or worse Christians than some heterosexuals with whom you are personally acquainted?

This is good stuff, I hope you enjoy reading it.


February 13, 2006

A Retired Pastor's Pilgrimage; Views on Homosexuality

My fellow blogger Peterson Tuscano was kind enough to forward me links to two exceptional columns written by Bill Sanford, a retired Methodist minister. He has written a column for the Merced (CA) Sun-Star and finally got around to addressing the issue of homosexuality as it related to the church. Here is a link to the first one below:

Views On Homosexuality

I thought it was outstanding the way he wrote about not dealing with homosexuality one way or the other, but then he came to a gradual understanding of how God loves GLBT people the same way he loves hetrosexuals. He write this in direct opposition to the formal doctrine of his church which I'm sure was a difficult thing to do. Here are a couple of my favorite quotes from his column:

o "Meanwhile, I couldn't help but notice a lot of heterosexual people doing a range of things that could only discredit heterosexuality. I came to the view that it was not one's sexual orientation that was at issue. It was how a person lived his or her life. I concluded that some in both "camps" lived exemplary values and some in both "camps" did not.

o I confess that there stirs within me the thought that even Biblical literalists do a lot of picking and choosing. If they can find a verse they can use to buttress something they believe, they will invoke it with fervor. Meanwhile, many other verses they quietly ignore or tacitly reject. That's how it looks to me from the outside.

Great stuff here. I'll link his follow-up column later this week. If you support Mr. Sanford's views, please take a moment and send him an e-mail telling him so. I'm sure those who disagree have already been in touch with him.