May 06, 2006

"Misusing Jesus' Name"

I'm linking to an excellent piece from Ethics Daily regarding war and how it is justified as being consistent with the teachings of Jesus.

The writer, Jim Evans, is pastor of Auburn First Baptist Church in Alabama. Despite being in the middle of a red state, he takes issue with how war can be called "a Christian thing."

Here is the key thought:

"But what are we supposed to do when unscrupulous and self-serving pretenders, wrap themselves in the cloak of Christianity and misuse the name of Jesus for their own benefit?"

Of course, the GLBT community deals with this on a daily basis. Instead of claiming war as a vehicle to peace, "fundamentalists" and conservatives use hate and call it a form of "love."

Just because you put a label on something doesn't mean that changes the actual nature of it. War is war, not peace. Hate is hate, not love.

Any faint claim the United States may have had to being a Christian nation was lost when our military invaded a sovereign country and took it over by force, imposing the United State's will on the people of Iraq. Clearly Saddam Hussein was an evil ruler and horrible atrocities were being committed in Iraq, but who gave American the moral authority to decide the fate of that nation?

It amazes and sickens me the things that our government condones in the name of “security” and, even more laughably, “freedom.” Would Jesus torture anyone to find out information from them? Even writing that sentence is preposterous, isn’t it? Despite that, our nation’s leaders are justifying those actions out of one side of their mouth while proclaiming their faith in Christ from the other.

No wonder Christian “leaders” feel empowered to hate and politic for discrimination! Given what the U. S. government is getting away with, trying to shove gays and lesbians back into the closet probably doesn’t seem like that big a deal.

It IS a big deal. It would be wrong under any circumstances, and double-dog wrong when Christ’s name is attached to it.

Of course, people can justify anything they want while on this earth, but it will be a whole different ball game when they stand before God trying to pitch how they were serving Him while hating an entire group of his children.

May 04, 2006

Establish Commonatlity

Im my latest column for Gay Christian Outreach, I write about the need to establish a common base with someone if you plan on reaching out to them and sharing Christ. I show an example from the Apostle Paul of how to accomplish that.

When you visit the site, please consider signing up and participating in the discussion of this column or any other topic of interest.

May 02, 2006

Comedy Can Hurt If You Take It Too Seriously

I ran across this story via The Advocate website that struck me as what can happen if we take ourselves too seriously.

A writer named Jeff Whitty (he wrote the musical Avenue Q which is currently playing on Broadway) wrote an open letter to Jay Leno, the long-time host of The Tonight Show, expressing his view that Leno's gay jokes were hurtful.

In his letter, Whitty speaks of discrimination and atrocities suffered by GLBT people. He refers to Leno's gay jokes as "a silent holocaust that is perpetuated by people like you, who seek to minimize us and make fun of us and who I suspect really, fundamentally wish we would just go away. " To his credit, Leno did respond to Whitty, but apparently no accord was reached.

Readers here may or may not be fans of Leno (I am), but anyone who has even casually watched his stand-up comedy over the years or his monologues on the Tonight Show knows that nothing is off limits. After all, presidents have been assasinated yet ones from both parties are frequent targets of Leno's material.

In my opinion, any group making Leno's monologue has taken a step toward mainstream acceptance, which I understand is a primary goal of the GLBT community. Comedian Jim David offers his take in The Advocate, one which is similar to mine.

My suggestion is for folks to not take themselves so seriously. There are some terrible things going on in this world but it's still okay to laugh at others and be laughed at ourselves.

Taking Their Ball and Staying Home

There is an interesting story developing in the Southern Baptist Convention. There is a group that has drawn up a resolution proposing an "exit strategy" for their youth to leave public schools and be homeschooled with the support of the convention.

Homeschooling is a growing trend, especially among "fundamentalist" families. Elizabeth Watkins, who formed the Southern Baptist Church and Home Education Association in 2004, says the purpose of homeschooling "is to impact our culture for Christ."

Here's another thought; maybe it's a way for parents to shelter their children and not be exposed to other ideas and lifestyles like, oh I don't know....homosexuality.

A student who is homeschooled doesn't have anyone teaching them views of the world that their parents don't subscribe to, which saves them from showing up at school board meetings or writing letters in protest.

When these kids grow up and are allowed to make their own choices in society, aren't the chances greatly reduced that they will be open to embracing or even understanding individuals from different cultures or who have different lifestyles? Denied interaction with a diverse group of their peers growing up, won't these young people be at a disadvantage when trying to succeed in a society with others that did have that exposure growing up?

Surprisingly, the SBC is not embracing this idea, but there will apparently be a big push from homeschool supporters at their next national convention. If they have their way, the narrowing of the American mind will continue.

April 30, 2006

"If You're Not Outraged, You're Not Paying Attention"

That's the theme of this op-ed piece in the Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader newspaper. It is written by Christina Gilgor, the executive director of the Kentucky Fairness Alliance.

It's been a bad few weeks for the GLBT community in the state of Kentucky. A student was expelled from the University of the Cumberlands when he was found to violate the school's policy against admitting homosexuals, yet the school is still on track to receive a new funding grant of $11 million from the state.

In addition, Governor Ernie Fletcher has stripped state employees of any protection from workplace discrimination based on their sexual orientation.

In her piece, Gilgor is emploring those in the state who believe in equality for ALL citizens of Kentucky and don't believe that the state should fund institutions that practice discrimination to raise their voices.

The GLBT community is having a rougher time in some states than others, but regardless of location they need all people directly affected by these issues to get off the sideline and get involved in fighting for their rights. Their straight allies also need to step up and put themselves out there supporting equal rights.

Just because you may not be directly impacted now doesn't mean you won't be at some point. After all, if governments are successful in restricting the rights of GLBT people, who knows what they might go after next.

Let's not give our governments that much power over our lives.