July 01, 2006

Gazette Column on Gays Called Vile, Hateful, Ill-informed"

Earlier this week, I commented on a column in the local (for me) Montgomery County, Maryland Gazette newspaper where their political columnist, Blair Lee, compared gays to pedophiles and serial killers. I expressed my outrage and I had plenty of company doing so. I directed my thoughts to Mr. Lee (I have not received a reply), but plenty of Gazette readers contacted the paper to express their outrage.

Here are a few I found particularly interesting:

"Just what is it about gays and lesbians that threaten Mr. Lee so much?"

"His ill-informed, ignorant, bigoted rants are an exact equivalent to the cases he makes about hostile speech directed at women and blacks. It is pitiful that he does not realize or understand the comparisons."

"As most extremists do, Mr. Lee excuses his condemnation and vilification of a group of American citizens by wrapping his argument up in religion. If it’s about religion, it can’t possibly be bigotry, hatred or discrimination, can it? "

"If such a vicious piece were written about any other minority group, would they be published?"

There are many more good thoughts the Gazette posted that are worth taking the time to read.

June 30, 2006

Know That You Can Hear the Call of God

In my latest essay for Gay Christian Outreach, I use the scripture of 1 Samuel 3:2-10 as my text to show how ALL of us can hear the call of God.

June 29, 2006

Dobson: Media Provides Cover For Assault on Traditional Marriage

Dr. James Dobson, chairman of Focus on the Family and an arch-enemy of GLBT equality, has written an essay that was posted on CNN.com.

There is actually one point where I agree with Dr. Dobson. He referred here to the recent vote in the U. S. Senate that failed to bring the Marriage Protection Act to the floor:

"As for the senators who voted against the amendment, the excuses they gave were pitiful. Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Michigan, Sen. Lincoln Chafee, R-Rhode Island, Sen. Mark Dayton, D-Minnesota, Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, Sen. Judd Gregg, R-New Hampshire, and many others thought they had the perfect alibi. They claimed that the issue should be handled at the state level. What hypocrisy!

All of these senators are smart enough to know that, first, it would create utter chaos to have 50 different definitions of marriage in one country, where every state is required by the Constitution to support the laws of the other 49. Come on, Senator McCain and company. You and your colleagues know better than that."

I totally agree with that point. If same-sex marriage is okay in Massachusetts, it should be okay in Texas. Expousing states rights is often congressional code for not having enough guts to take a stand on an issue.

Most of Dr. Dosbon's justification for prohibiting same-sex marriage is public opinion polls. If we allowed all of society's issues to be decided by a public vote, I doubt we would like the results. For example, there would probably still be slaves in the south and women would not have the right to vote, or many rights at all. I'm also very confident that Dr. Dobson won't feel the same way when opinion polls shift in favor of same-sex marriage, but by then he'll blame the media, as he does here for the Senate vote.

Dobson and others of his ilk keep talking about the "destruction" or "weakening" of the institution of marriage if men are allowed to marry other men, or women marrying other women, but they seldom if ever tell us why. If two gay men having the right to marry weakens my marriage to Brenda, that would say a lot more about the weak foundation our marriage had than it would the gay men.

CNN.com also posted some comments to Dobson's article. As usual in public forums, the most thoughtful responses came from those who favor same-sex marriage. This again, in my opinion, shows just how little substance there is to the arguement against other than quoting tradition.

Of course, Dr. Dobson would probably find a way to blame the media for that too.

June 28, 2006

Responding to Stupdity and/or Bigotry

The good folks at Equality Maryland alerted me to this column written in the local Montgomery County, Maryland Gazette newspaper.

The writer, Blair Lee, is a longtime pundit on area politics. He was upset about Maryland Governor Robert Ehrlich removing Robert Smith from the local Metro transportation board because he referred to homosexuality as "deviant behavior" based on his Catholic faith.

Lee believed this was simply a case of opportunistic Democrats trying to cause trouble for a Republican governor who is up for reelection, and he is certainly entitled to that opinion. He is not entitled to this one, however:

"But the homosexual lobby is desperately and relentlessly trying to parlay the public’s tolerance into the acceptance of homosexuality as normal. After all, if God made homosexuals then homosexuality must be normal, right? Sorry, just because God created you doesn’t mean you’re normal. God created pedophiles and serial killers, too."

I expressed my outrage at this statement directly to Mr. Lee, and I'm publishing that e-mail here:

Dear Mr. Lee,

I have read your columns over the years in the various newspapers where they have appeared and respect your take on local politics. Even when I have disagreed with you views, I found them to be clearly stated and well supported.

Unfortunately, in your 6/23 column in the Gazette, you strayed from your area of expertise and showed ignorance at best, intolerance and bigotry at worst. You wrote:

But the homosexual lobby is desperately and relentlessly trying to parlay the public’s tolerance into the acceptance of homosexuality as normal. After all, if God made homosexuals then homosexuality must be normal, right? Sorry, just because God created you doesn’t mean you’re normal. God created pedophiles and serial killers, too.

Comparing homosexuals' place in society to pedophiles and serial killers is offensive and repugnant. I happen to be straight myself, but my brother and several members of my church family who I love very much are homosexual. I deeply resent you grouping these wonderful people in with murders.

Just so you know, many of the "perponderance of American religions" you refer to once treated women and blacks as lesser citizens. They grew beyond that as hopefully they will grow beyond their condemnation of homosexuality today.

I hope you show better judgement in your future columns and stick to politics. Leave the larger issues to those who have a grasp on reality.

Jim Johnson

I encourage anyone who reads the column and agrees with me to send Mr. Lee an e-mail. His address is at the bottom of the page.

June 27, 2006

BBC: Do You Have the Right to Be Gay?

Thanks to PageOne Q, I saw this posted on the BBC (British Broadcasting Corp) website. Some Nigerians living in London were hosting an international day of prayer in support of gay and lesbian people living in Nigeria. Motivated by this, the BBC posed the question, "Do You Have the Right to Be Gay?"

An interesting cross-section of people responded with the predictable mix of answers. Here are a couple that I thought were noteworthy:

People (whether heterosexual, homosexual or asexual) should exhibit their sexuality (or lack of it) within their bedrooms. By the same token, governments have no business peering into people's bedrooms. However, there should be zero tolerance for discrimination when a person's sexuality becomes public knowledge, for whatever reason. Governments, particularly those in Africa, have more pressing problems, e.g., healthcare and poverty reduction.
Akpan, Kent, UK/Nigeria

Of course people have a right to be gay. It is a basic matter of respect for the individual. Those who would stop homosexuality or punish gays, anywhere in the world, are simply evil. We must not compromise, or allow for cultural relativity. That would be as bad as compromising with Al-Quaeda.
Richard, London, UK

I am an African lesbian. My sexual orientation is me, how can there be any debate about whether I have a right to be what I am? Heterosexual Africans should wake up to the truth.
Chris Smith,

Then, from the other side.....

The culture of Africa forbids same sex marriage. The fact that it is practised in other continents does not make it right. Africans, let's respect and defend our culture.
Daniel Bassah, Accra - Ghana

The bible says that it is an abomination. It is a dirty game. It is dangerous to humankind. The first time I saw a man kissing another man on Tv, I vomited the whole day.
rickie89, USA

Anyone has a right to be gay, lesbian or even bisexual. It's based on individual preference. What bothers me about the whole ordeal is the gay and lesbian community's eagerness at shoving their adopted lifestyles down our throats. Homosexuality and lesbianism shouldn't be gathering as much momentum as the media has accorded them.
Lara Ladejobi, USA

The debate goes on worldwide.

June 26, 2006

Not Everybody Loves a Parade

I love my satellite radios (yes, I have BOTH XM and Sirius, what a radio whore I am), but occasionally some really aggravating noise comes out of it. That happened today, when I was surfing and ran across Fox Talk Radio.

The host was someone named Spencer Hayes, who was substituting for John Gibson. He was sharing the trauma he experienced this past weekend when he saw part of the Gay Pride parade in San Francisco. He kept going on about how he had to cover his five-year old son’s eyes because of, among other things, someone dressed as a dancing vagina.

The point Hayes was trying to make was how he felt “displays” like that set gay rights back 20, 30, even 50 years. He claimed to be a supporter of gay rights, at least before this weekend, but he made two statements that clearly exposed his prejudice to the contrary.

First, he questioned why anyone would be proud of being gay and need a day to express it. After all, he reasoned, he didn’t wake up every morning bursting with pride about being heterosexual. Of course, he probably never had anyone call him a sinner destined for hell because he was hetero. Hayes has probably never had political campaigns designed to limit his civil rights or restrict his rights to marry the person he loves. If so, he would probably have understood how important it is to the gay community to express pride in who they are despite what many of them have been told all of their lives.

I called in to the show and was put on the air, where the host again showed how oblivious he was to anything relating to GLBT people. I made the point that the exhibitionists at the Gay Pride parade weren’t any more representative of the gay community than Mardi Gras was of heterosexuals. I felt he was holding all gay people accountable for the actions of a few, which I equated to my having to answer for the debauchery in New Orleans. I also reminded the host that there was no more such thing as the “homosexual lifestyle” as there was a “heterosexual lifestyle.”

Hayes said that all you see at Mardi Gras was some girls lifting up their shirts and exposing their breasts while at the parade he saw two men wearing tutus, which was clearly worse. What! The only difference is, I suppose, is that he likes women’s breasts but doesn’t much care for men in tutus.

The worst part of Mr. Hayes’ ranting is that he was not entirely wrong. There are plenty of people who use events like the Pride parades and the exhibitionists who practice outrageous behavior in them to discredit the entire homosexual community. When a minority movement is trying to improve its traction, activities that strongly alienate a sector of their target demographic are not helpful.

Clearly, some of the participants in these events aren’t worried about anybody’s rights except their own opportunity to act out in whatever way pleases them. Unfortunately, behavior like this is not limited to any specific sexual orientation.

June 25, 2006

Muslim Gays Seek Lesbians For Wives

Apparently Christians aren't the only ones who feel pushed into marriage to hide their homosexuality. According to this article from the Washington Post, this is also a trend among Muslims, even those in the United States.

"Marriages of convenience are the result of gay Muslims wanting to avoid emotional and physical harm to themselves," says Muhammed Ali, a board member of Homan, a Los Angeles-based support group for gay Iranians.

Yes, there is a support group for gay Iranians. I bet you didn't know that, did you?

The article states, "Homosexuality is a crime punishable by death in much of the Islamic world. In Iran last year, two gay teenagers were publicly executed, while in Afghanistan, the Taliban government would torture homosexuals by collapsing walls on them. Though gay Muslims in America don't have such fears, they still seek out marriages of convenience as a way of staying in the closet. Many of them worry about being ostracized from their families if their secret is revealed."

Here is a quote for you, "Homosexuality is a moral disorder. It is a moral disease, a sin and corruption. . . . No person is born homosexual, just like no one is born a thief, a liar or murderer," he said. "People acquire these evil habits due to a lack of proper guidance and education."

No, that's not James Dobson or Pat Robertson talking. The quote came from Muzammil Siddiqi of the Islamic Society of North America.

I wonder if Dobson can line up Siddiqi for his next "Love Won Out" conference?