March 24, 2006

Unfit to Parent?

It is obvious that same-sex adoption is moving alongside same-sex marriage as hot-button issues in today's society which is why I visit that again with this post.

This particular story started when a straight GLBT ally in Tennessee emailed one of her state representatives regarding the debate in that state's legislature regarding same-sex adoption. As reported by Out & About, a newspaper serving the gay community in Tennessee, the response she received was mind-boggling.

Sara Dykstra shared the e-mail reply she received from state Rep. Debra Maggart. In stating her skepticism about the wisdom of allowing same-sex adoption, she wrote Ms. Dkystra:

“I am not convinced that just because our foster children desperately need loving homes that we should just place them in homes that are available when research also shows that most homosexual couples have numerous emotional dysfunctions and psychological issues that may not be healthy for children.”

Wait a minute, did she meet my parents? My birth mommy and daddy raised me, yet I grew up with the "traditional family values" of alcoholism, infidelity, codependency, dishonesty and, worst of all, old-school hillbilly music constantly on the car radio.

To imply that gays and lesbians are the only ones with "numerous emotional dysfunctions and psychological issues" is indefensibly ignorant. Perhaps narrow-minded thought like that contributes to dysfunction within the GLBT community.

Ms. Dykstra shared her reaction to Rep. Maggert's response; "My initial reaction when I read that was both shock and anger. I was surprised to hear such one-sided, ignorant and false logic coming from someone who is elected for the common good."

I wish I had been as surprised as her when I read this story. Ignorance is a tough nut to crack, but we need to keep chipping away.

It's About Equal Treatment, Not Special Rights

Invariably when legislation is introduced in any legislative body proposing protections for GLBT invididuals, opponents point to the "homosexual agenda" promoting "special rights."

Since when is equal protection under the law a special right?

According to a report from Amnesty International, the GLBT community is still being plagued by unresponsive police and hostility from officers. The report offers the opinion that even when there are legal protections in place, attitudes of law enforcement personnel is a major issue that is frequently resulting in poor treatment of GLBT people.

There is still much work to be done toward insuring the gay and lesbian community has its rightful place as a full-fledged member of the human race, not some sub-species. A lot of that work needs to be done in the church. In fact, many of the loudest voices screaming out against basic human rights for GLBT people are church leaders.

I wonder what part of the gospel detailing Jesus' ministry inculdes discriminating against, well, anyone? I can't find it in my bible.

Adoption Institute Supports Gay Parents

Sometimes you hear something that makes so much sense, you just know that it will be an uphill struggle to get people to buy into it.

This Associated Press story is an example of that. A report issued by the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute features this quote:

"Laws and policies that preclude adoption by gay or lesbian parents disadvantage the tens of thousands of children mired in the foster care system who need permanent, loving homes."

This clearly makes too much sense to be easily assimilated into public policy.

Those who campaign for "traditional family values" would rather see those kids wait instead of letting the homos get ahold of them. They claim to be protecting innocent children, but what they are really defending is their own narrow-minded bigotry.

Now THAT doesn't make much sense, does it?

Shia Death Squads Target Iraqi Gays

According to this piece in the Gay City News, gay Iraqis are being targeted for persecution and execution. Making the situation even nastier, the report quotes a source about the death squads receiving advice fom Iran on how to target gay people. Who said those folks couldn't agree on anything?

Since the United States is over there with a rather large presence, you would think they're working on stopping the Badr Corps death squads. According to this repot, you should think again. These sources say that U. S. officials are meeting these concerns with indifference and derision.

Let me see if I've got this right. The United States leads an invasion of a sovereign nation to liberate the people from a brutal dictator (although we were told it was to protect us from terrorists). Our nation spends billions upon billions to fund this war and has been over there for three years now (despite assurances that would not happen). Over 2,000 American soldiers have lost their lives emancipating a nation that is trying to systematically exterminate part of its own population. Knowing that, this report says our military is not engaged in activity to stop it.

Can someone please tell me what part of that makes sense?

March 23, 2006

Ignorance Is a Weapon, But It Can Be Defeated

In a recent "Bring It On" segment on, Pat Robertson answered questions from youth regarding various issues. Two of them pertained to homosexuality and the answers reeked of ignorance.

To one teenager asking about attending events with a gay classmate, Robertson replied "If you go to these places, the next thing you know, you will be enticed into their lifestyle instead of him being enticed to yours."

To another youth asking about how to relate to a friend with two gay parents, Robertson responded, "It’s wrong for homosexuals to adopt. I think that they will lead children into the lifestyle they have."

I'm not saying Pat Robertson is an ignorant man. He has many published books to his credit and has built a media empire with CBN. That's why his statements really bother me. In his guise as a schollarly christian counselor, he is pushing his own agenda and propigating ignorance.

People don't get turned into homosexuals by hanging out with them or having gay parents. In the later example, the child may never learn how to throw a football, but he won't be physically attrected to people of the same sex unless he was born with that instinct.

Pat Robertson and his ilk don't want people to know that. He wants us to think homosexuals are evil, deviant beings who don't deserve some basic human rights.

I am happy to present evidence that there are a lot of people tuning him out. Results of a survey just released by The Pew Research Center shows that support for same-sex marriage and gay adoption is growing. According to the survey, 51% of the respondants were opposed to same-sex marriage, down from 63% in February 2004. Those who favor it are up from 30% to 39% during the same time period. Over a longer period of time, the survey shows support for gay adoption up from 38% in 1999 to 46% now.

Despite all the money and resources the "fundamentalists" have devoted to convincing people to discriminate or even hate homosexuals, it appears there are more people seeking the truth for themselves and arriving at a point of acceptance.

There is still a lot of work to be done here, though, and the efforts of our opponents will only intensify with results such as these. Those who are open-minded and accepting of people the way God made them will need to match the intensity of the narrow-minded to advance the cause of acceptance and rights for all.

March 22, 2006

It's Okay to be a Doubting Thomas

John 20:24-29 (NIV)

Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord!" But he said to them, "Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it." A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!" Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe." Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!" Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."

This scripture directly ties in with one of the themes I like to write about on this blog. The notes included in my bible referring to these verses say:

"Some people need to doubt before they believe. If doubt leads to questions, questions lead to answers, and the answers are accepted, then doubt has done good work. It is when doubt becomes stubbornness and stubbornness becomes a life-style that doubt harms faith. When you doubt, don't stop there. Let your doubt deepen your faith as you continue to search for the answer."

If Jesus had not accepted Thomas' doubt as an attempt to grow in his faith, do you think He would have appeared to him? There are plenty of examples in both the Old and New Testaments where people question God. If they do it with faith and are seeking answers, He supplied them.

When I came to Believers Covenant Fellowship over a year ago, I had not resolved the issue of how God viewed homosexuals. I listened to what my future wife Brenda, Apostle Dale, and other members of the church told me, but I still had questions. I did some studying on my own and I prayed a lot. After some work on my part, I was at peace with the understanding of how GLBT people had equal rights to God's kingdom and should enjoy equal rights in our society.

I asked questions, sought out information, opened my heart and my mind, and got answers.

God blessed Thomas for asking questions because he was listening for the answers and accepting when they were presented to him. That is a great example for all of us to follow and one that is become tragically rare in today's soceity.

Training Program for LGBT Allies

I just ran across this because these folks found this blog and were kind enough to link to it:

There will be a program at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley, Californina for allies of LGBT people on Saturday, April 8.

The goal of the program is to "train allies for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender persons in the faith community context."

The session runs from 9AM-1PM and there is no cost to attend, but they do need people to register in advance.

You can read more about the training and the people involved at their website:

Beyond Good Intentions: Equipping the Ministries of LGBT Allies

You can also contact the organizers for more information. I would encourage anyone in the Berkely area to check it out.

March 21, 2006

Hate In God's Name In the Holy Land

Right-wing hate toward GLBT people in God's name is a popular pastime in the United States, but it is hardly an American phenomenon.

As if there wasn't enough going on in this part of the world to worry about, Rabbi David Basri in Jerusalem, a well known foe of gays, has lashed out again. Rabbi Basri is a prominent Kabbalah leader, the type of Jewish mysticism practiced by Madona and Roseanne among others.

The Rabbi, in his finite wisdom, has blamed gays for an outbreak of bird flu in Israel. Since there is, like in the U. S., an active political campaign promoting same-sex marriage, Rabbi Basri has said the appearance of bird flu is God's punishment. I guess He didn't have time to whip up a hurricane to comdemn everyone so He just dropped in some bird flu.

If you read the entire story, you'll see some of the hateful comments attributed to the Rabbi. If you take time to pray for the safety of people in this dangerous area of the world, may I suggest that you also pray for the wisdom of their leadership and that they may discern God's will for how GLBT people should be treated.

Regardless of if they are christians in America or jews in Israel, our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters are people too, not abominations.

March 19, 2006

"Literalism of Convenience"

I'm linking to what I feel is an outstanding letter written by a columnist for the Miami Herald. He writes it regarding an incident in a Miami high school, but his column goes much beyond that. The writer, Leonard Pitts Jr., gets to the very crux of much of the biblical arguement that is often used to preach hate toward homosexuals in our churches.

Regarding recent activities by organizations like the American Family Association, he eloquently states,

".....people are ignorant in Appalachia, strung out in Miami, starving in Niger, sex slaves in India, mass murdered in Darfur. Where is the Christian outrage about that? Just once, I’d like to read a headline that said a Christian group was boycotting to feed the hungry. Or marching to house the homeless. Or pushing Congress to provide the poor with health care worthy of the name.
Instead, they fixate on keeping the gay in their place. Which makes me question their priorities. And their compassion. And their faith."

I feel very strongly these priorities need to be questioned, and it is up to us to ask these questions.