December 16, 2006

Florida School Board Can't Stop Gay-Straight Alliance

The Okeechobee (I don't know how to pronounce it either) County School Board can stop a group of students organized as a Gay-Straight Alliance club from meeting on school property, but they can't stop it from existing. That's the good news from this report on

The ACLU has filed suit on the students behalf, pointing out that the school board allows a number of extracurricular clubs, like the Fellowship of Christian Athletes for example, to meet at Okeechobee High School and that the board unlawfully discriminated against the Gay-Straight Alliance.

The best part of the story is that the Alliance is currently active, meeting at a local restaurant, and includes approximately 50 members. Good for them!

Here's a great quote:

“Florida’s gay and lesbian students deserve schools that are places of learning, not training camps for intolerance, intimidation and violence," said Robert Rosenwald, Director of the ACLU of Florida’s LGBT Advocacy Project.

Well said. Some of the most important things I learned in high school were lessons taught outside of the classroom. Intollerance should not be one of them.

December 14, 2006

James Dobson's Column In Time Magazine

Perhaps the most frequent object of scorn in this blog, Dr. James Dobson, is at it again. He wrote a guest column in the most recent issue of Time magazine titled, "Two Mommies Is One Too Many." Like many anti-gay bigots, he used the announcement of Mary Cheney's pregnancy to jump back on his soap box (if he ever stepped down) and lecture about the sins of same-sex parenting.

The magazine did post a rebuttal on its website, not the magazine, from Jennifer Chrisler, the Executive Director of the organization Family Pride where she pointed out factual flaws in Dobson's piece.

As usual, the disinformation campaign of an anti-gay leader has set off the radar of Wayne Besen, the founder and head of "Truth Wins Out," an organization that exists to counter such efforts. On the organization's website, Besen reports how two researchers blast Dobson for distorting and cherry-picking parts of their research to support his position.

This remnids me that anytime I am very confident of my position on an issue, whether I am debating an interpretation of the bible or who is the better of two quarterbacks, I don't need to distort or cherry-pick. I can address data that does not support my view if I know in my heart that the data which does support it will carry the debate. It's only when I am not sure of my position that I try to avoid the other side. After all, who likes to lose an arguement?

Unfortunately, Dobson tries to win this debate at the cost of people in the GLBT community who won't reach out to God and suffer in their own self-loathing because of the negative attitudes he invests vast resources into perpetuating.

Then again, if they're not writing checks to support his political agenda, they don't really matter.

"Gay and Evangelical"

Fellow blogger Barb Elgin was kind enough to forward a link to this article from the New York Times which was reprinted on the blog "Mirror of Justice."

It begins:

"Justin Lee believes that the Virgin birth was real, that there is a heaven and a hell, that salvation comes through Christ alone and that he, the 29-year-old son of Southern Baptists, is an evangelical Christian.

Just as he is certain about the tenets of his faith, Mr. Lee also knows he is gay, that he did not choose it and cannot change it.

To many people, Mr. Lee is a walking contradiction, and most evangelicals and gay people alike consider Christians like him horribly deluded about their faith. “I’ve gotten hate mail from both sides,” said Mr. Lee, who runs, a Web site with 4,700 registered users that mostly attracts gay evangelicals."

The Times writer does not draw any conclusions, instead presenting the thoughts of numerous gay and lesbian people who are involved in evangelical Christian outreach. There is also mention of the objections of those who do see the term "gay evangelical" as an oxymoron.

This is a well presented piece that is worth reading.

December 13, 2006

Another Megachurch Pastor Is Pushed Out of the Closet

Yep, here we go again. This report from The Christian Post tells us that Paul Barnes, the pastor of Grace Chapel in Englewood, Colorado for 28 years, has confessed to having homosexual encounters.

Sadly, it's the same old story. Preacher rails against homosexuality. Someone finds out he has been having homosexual affairs. Preacher is confronted by church leadership and tearfully confesses his horrible "sins." Church leadership hates the "sin" but loves the sinner. Rinse and repeat.

Of course, these people hide behind the perceived sin of being gay because if churches started holding leaders and members accountable for adultery there would be a lot of empty pews and lighter collection plates.

In a video-taped message to the church body, Barnes said "I have struggled with homosexuality since I was a 5-year-old boy," Barnes, 54, said in videotaped message. "... I can't tell you the number of nights I have cried myself to sleep, begging God to take this away."

Obviously, God made Barnes that way, but his inability to accept that has hurt his family, his church, and his ability to serve God. I am again reminded that no one can reach the full potential of the gifts God gave them unless they can accept who God made them to be.

This man has inflicted and endured a lot of suffering because he could not come to grips with who he was created to be. That, folks, is not God's will but Satan's. Just as the Devil quoted scripture when he tried to tempt Jesus, he can use people preaching in God's name to work against his creation and undermine His will for our lives.

It also appears that Colorado is not the best state to live if you are a secretly gay pastor of a large church.

Paul Barnes, his family, and his church are just the latest casualties. There will be others.

December 12, 2006

Is the Push for Same-Sex Marriage Actually Hurting GLBT Civil Rights?

I like to consider different viewpoints--if I didn't I never would have started this blog. Here is a different twist on the puch for same-sex marriage, something I have spent a lot of space writing about here.

The blog "Proceed At Your Own Risk" recently posted a piece that asked the question in the title of this post.

"As emotionally difficult and as politically incorrect as it may be, we owe it to ourselves to question if the gay marriage fight at this time in the history of the gay civil rights movement is anything more than a distraction pulling us away from the real battle. Has this national issue become more of a danger to our future than a promise for a better life?"

".....the fact remains that in most states I can still be fired from my job for being gay, not hired for being gay, denied housing for being gay and even denied business services for being gay.
Marriage has come to dominate and in fact completely eclipse the overall fight for
gay civil rights. Strategically speaking, are we best served by this? Or are we and our leaders heading in a very wrong direction?"

"I applaud gay couples who are attempting long term commitments and those who are raising children, but it is not a practice that stands at the core of gay culture and I question whether it should be the central issue in the fight for our civil rights and full equality as Americans and human beings. Should the central issue in the fight for equality be an end to the kinds of discriminatory practices that effect each and every one of us, not just some of us."

"So are gay men and women exempted from constitutional protections because we are mentally ill, sinners or both? It must be one or the other. And the conclusion must be that if conservatives have their way with us, the mentally ill, the divorced, the adulterous, the dishonest and the covetous are next."

"Gay marriage is an effective way to divert us from these realities and betrayals of Constitutional law. It's easy to cry "God" over marriage, not so easy over housing and employment. But thanks to the marriage battle, politicians, preachers and bigots disguised as "social conservatives" can bundle up our rights in a nice little wedding bouquet and toss it into the air."

Are at least some GLBT activists taking the easy way out by focusing on same-sex marriage at the expense of issues like fair employment and housing rights which impact a broader section of the GLBT community?

There is a spirited discussion about that taking place on "Proceed At Your Own Risk," and I would like your thoughts on that question.

"Glory to God and all God's Children"

"'Tis the season to re-examine mainstream attitudes toward gays and other sexual minorities."

That was the subheading to this column which is noteworthy not as much for what is says but for where it is being said.

This column was written by Clarke Thomas, someone who is a newspaper editor, not a GLBT activist. It was also published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, not a GLBT or alternative newspaper in an area hardly known for it's liberal slant.

Thomas also writes:

"The growing gay family phenomenon should prompt churches and church people in this season of goodwill compassionately to re-examine their attitudes toward the GLBT population."

This column in a mainstream media outlet is more evidence that attitudes toward GLBT equality are shifting in a positive direction and that more people are seeing the right-wing rhetoric for what it is: bigotry and hatred.

December 10, 2006

The Right Wing Sure Gets Upset at Fiction

I was reminded of this again in Jerry Falwell's most recent newsletter, where he takes NBC to task because on their show ER, "the character of Hope Bobeck, who is defined as a Christian, abruptly decides that she should enter a sexual relationship with an atheist character."

Falwell continued:

"The storyline reminds me of a “Will and Grace” episode a few years ago in which a gathering of ex-gays (people who have walked away from homosexuality) suddenly run off with each other, overcome by their sexual urges.

The message here is clear: Christianity is a feeble crutch that cannot — and should not — stand against reckless sexuality.

believe these negative media portrayals of Christians and Christianity goes hand-in-hand with the accelerating effort to purge our nation of its Judeo-Christian symbols.

It’s a one-two punch: the media depicts Christians as either mean-spirited ogres or easily influenced simpletons while civil libertarians attempt to convince our fellow citizens that America should be free of religious symbols, specifically Christian ones.

I think this attitude is just pitiful, especially coming on the heels of "The DaVinci Code" movie that was based on A WORK OF FICTION!

Another point I want to make is, regarding the situations Falwell pointed out on TV shows, how many of the characters found true happiness and fulfillment with the choices he is railing against? Tension and conflict are two basic staples of fiction, either comedy or drama. Once the story reaches a happily-ever-after point, it's done and it's time for a new story. It is safe to say that the majority of characters in fiction, either on the screen or the printed page, make bad choices or are the victims of other people's bad choices. This allows for the conflict and uncertainty that makes for a good story.

Of course, if people are looking for mean-spirited Christians or those who are easily influenced, Fox News would be a good place to check out.