July 22, 2006

New Feature: "Whosoever" Devotionals

Beginning this weekend, my wife and partner Pastor Brenda will move from behind the scenes and share a series of devotionals on this blog. They will fall under the heading of "Whosoever," based on John 3:16 (NIV)

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Pastor Brenda chose that title to emphasize that EVERYONE who believes in Christ has access to eternal life. God's promises apply to all of us, gay or straight.

I hope you will be blessed by Pastor Brenda's teachings.

July 21, 2006

"Hope for the Hopeless Hetero"

I hope you have seen in reading this blog that one of the approaches I use to make a point is sarcastic humor. If so, you won't be surprised that I am linking this site. It is titled:

"Parents and Friends of Ex-Straights and Straights, 'We're With the Queers"

They advertise that there is "Hope for the Hopeless Hetero" and that they "Support the Right of Heterosexuals to Change."

Sound pretty silly? That's the point. It is clearly designed to mock the claims of PFOX, Parents and Friends of ExGays and Gays. Some of their stuff comes across as silly too. The difference is that PFOXS knows it, PFOX doesn't seem to.

Using Churches to Recruit Voters

The title of this post is a phrase that makes me ill and angry at the same time, yet it's happening all over the United States. An organized effort toward that goal is going on right now in my home state of Maryland. A group calling itself "Association of Maryland Families" has started what they term a "Voter Registration, Voter Education, and Voter Turnout" drive in churches throughout the state.

How are they going to "educate" potential voters? Well, the fact that this is a cooperative effort with Focus on the Family offers a disturbing clue. They are also advertising the "Value Voters Summit" being held in September by another right-wing group, the Family Research Council. My state is clearly in the blue column, but even here there will be recruits eager to sign up and push the agenda of exclusion and hatred these groups push in the name of God.

Folks, people with this mentality can rationalize just about anything, including coming into facilities established for the worship of God to try and increase their political influence.

I found a like-minded piece written by Rev. Gerald Britt, the esecutive director of Central Dallas Ministries. Rev. Britt writes:

"Enough is enough. I have joined more than 100 other religious leaders from across our state in sending a clear message to politicians: Keep partisan politics out of our houses of worship and respect the faith of all Texans."

He adds, "But we must not blur the line between faith and partisan politics. Our houses of worship cannot be used as campaign props, nor our congregations deemed a "political base." We cannot allow those who disagree to be stigmatized. Religion should not be used to divide communities to win votes."

Rev. Britt is more open to inviting speakers into his church to share political topics, but he does not give up his pulpit and is determined to hear both sides on issues.

How many sides do you think the Association of American Families is interested in hearing? Not mine, I'm sure.

July 20, 2006

Who Do You Trust?

Who do you trust? That may seem like a simple question, but it often is not. Do you place your trust in your spouse or significant other? Your boss, co-workers, or employees? Family members? Friends? Church members? The news media? Yourself?

Answering yes to any or all of those choices is reasonable, and hopefully you have some level of trust in the people who occupy these roles in your life. Ultimately, though, everyone will let you down and fail to earn your trust. Then what are you supposed to do?

Click here to read the rest of the column on Gay Christian Outreach

July 19, 2006

More Insults to Gays in Kentucky

This report from The Advocate and Sirius OutQ News really aggravated me:

"A day after calling gays "the wrong kind of people," Kentucky state senator Richard Roeding continued his verbal barrage against gays, calling the Republican political group Log Cabin Republicans "a bunch of queers." After learning that the state Log Cabin chapter had called for his resignation, the northern Kentucky Republican used the derogatory term to describe the group in an interview with The Cincinnati Post.

Log Cabin called for Roeding's resignation after he said that the University of Louisville was wrong to offer health benefits to gay and lesbian domestic partners as a way to make the university competitive and attract talent. "I don't want to entice any of these people into our state," Roeding told The Louisville Courier-Journal in a story published Friday. "Those are the wrong kind of people."

After hearing of Roeding's "queers" remark, state senate president David Williams called Roeding, who then apologized to Williams for using the term. No word on whether he planned to apologize to the Log Cabin Republicans—or to gay Kentuckians"

Well, Senator Roeding, being a Maryland resident, I hope you stay in Kentucky or anywhere but Maryland. I wouldn't want any people like you enticed to my state. It is scary that people like that actually have a vote toward developing laws and spending tax money.

House Rejects Same-Sex Marriage Ban Amendment

On Tuesday, and U. S. House of Representatives rejected the proposed constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage. This amendment also failed in the U. S. Senate several weeks ago.

Supporters of equality should not get too happy about that vote in my opinion. The amendment did win a clear majority, 236-187, but needed a 2/3 vote to clear the House.

According to this report in The Adovcate:

"Supporters said the vote will make a difference when people got to the polls in November. "The overwhelming majority of the American people support traditional marriage," said Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, a Republican from Colorado, sponsor of the amendment. "And the people have a right to know whether their elected representatives agree with them."

Recent national polls hardly show an "overwhelming" majority of people in favor of this initiative, but many of these supporters don't let a little thing like facts slow them down.

More from The Advocate:

Opponents dismissed the proposal as both discriminatory and legislatively irrelevant because of the Senate vote. The measure is "all for the purpose of pandering to a narrow political base." said Rep. Tammy Baldwin, a gay Democrat from Wisconsin. "This hateful and unnecessary amendment is unworthy of our great Constitution."

Well put, Rep. Baldwin.

July 18, 2006

"Real Christians Don't Gay Bash"

I ran across this wonderful column on The Huffington Post written by Rev. Jim Rigby, the pastor of St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church in Austin, Texas. The title pretty well tells you what he is trying to say. He writes:

"Not that long ago, it was considered consistent to be a Christian, and yet, hold slaves.
The day came when slavery was understood as an affront to the gospel itself. I want to suggest that the day has come when Christians must declare that gay bashing is an attack on the gospel and that real Christians do not participate in any form of discrimination."

He closes by writing, "If Christianity is love, then cruelty is the ultimate heresy."

Amen to that, Rev. Rigby! I would emphasize that even more then the cruelty is done in God's name.

July 17, 2006

Misrepresenting In God's Name

This article from Planet Out is ostensably about a group of GLBT families who are marching on the Colorado Springs headquarters of Focus on the Family. Further into it, though, it raises a very important issue which is one of the primary motivations for this support.

Focus on the Family is not truthful.

The article goes into some detail about how the organization has misrepresented data in a way to support their ideology. Politicians do it all the time, and I think most people have lowered the bar far enough to expect that on both sides of the isle.

It's a LOT worse when it is done with God's name attached to it, as is everything Dr. James Dobson's band of right-wing spinmeisters does.

Can Dr. Dobson, or any bible scholar for that matter, show me one instance in the Bible where Jesus misrepresented ANYTHING to make a point? Where did He "spin" anything to make it more paletable or to trick someone into believing anything He said? I don't see the slightest hint of that in my Bible.

How angry do you think God gets when political zealots like Dobson and his ilk do that in his name?

I'm confident He is very upset and that He will take that up with those folks on judgement day.

Let 'em try to spin that!

July 16, 2006

Florida Gay Democrats Looking Beyond Gay Issues

The Florida GLBT Deomcratic Caucus met on Saturday, seeking equal rights and focusing on electing Democrats even if they don't support all of the gay issues.

According to this AP report posted on Southern Voice, "Gay activists believe they need to support Democrats opposed to gay marriage for the sake of seeking change on issues that affect a broader range of Americans. 'This is not the time to take our marbles and go home, there are too many issues at stake,' said Brian Bond, executive director of the Democratic National Committee's Gay & Lesbian Leadership Council. "

This flies in the face of rhetoric often used against those proported to supoort "the homosexual agenda." I think this is a wonderful example of at least one group of political activists that can see beyond their personal goals and embrace the big picture of what is happening in the entire United States. It's too bad this is increasingly rare on both sides of the isle.

As the AP reports, "Republican Party of Florida spokesman Jeff Sadosky disputed contentions that Republicans use the issue like gay marriage and flag burning to divide. 'I have a problem with defining them as wedge issues when the majority of Americans feel just the same,' he said. 'We welcome anyone and everyone, the Republican Party is a big tent party, but at the same time we do believe certain things and one of those things is that marriage is a commitment between one man and one woman."

What Mr. Sadosky fails to address, though, is that in a recent poll conducted by FOX News, people think the most important issues facing the country are Iraq, the economy, and health care. That hardly seems to justify all the energy spent on trying to constitutionalize a ban on same-sex marriage.

I'd also like to see a gay person stroll into that "big tent" uninvited. I wouldn't recommend it.