April 17, 2009

"Laws Can Only Go So Far'

I've joined others in writing about the difference between laws that change behavior and the longer-lasting benefits of changing minds and hearts. This essay from The Advocate, written in the wake of Iowa's court decision legalizing same-sex marriage, is a timely reminder of that principle. Here's an excerpt:

I worry that by investing so much energy in winning court decisions and not working to win marriage equality through popularly elected legislatures, the gay rights movement is shunting aside the harder -- but no less important -- work of convincing the American people that there is nothing unhealthy, morally wrong, or threatening about homosexuality.

Social conservatives worry that court decisions like the ones in Massachusetts, California, and Iowa will lead to greater cultural acceptance of homosexuality, and in the end, they have a right to be anxious. As the Civil Rights Act of 1965 played a role in altering the way Americans think about race, the Iowa supreme court's decision will change the way Iowans view their fellow gay citizens, at least over time. But legal decisions written by a handful of lawyers form only a part of the struggle for the hearts and minds of the public. It wasn't lawyers and legislators who won the struggle for black equality, but rather the moral suasion, physical sacrifice, and humility of the everyday participants in the African-American civil rights movement that convinced Americans of the immorality and intolerability of the racial status quo.

Disputing the notion that marriage should remain heterosexuals-only because that's the way it's always been, the Iowa justices wrote that such reasoning can "allow discrimination to become acceptable as tradition and helps to explain how discrimination can exist for such a long time." The Iowa supreme court put a chink in the armor of the deeply ensconced antigay animus that bedevils so much of this country. Reveling in this victory, however, gays should not expect court decisions to be a substitute for the widespread social acceptance that we have sought for so long but have yet to achieve.

Victories in the courts and legislatures are very important, of course, but they can be short lasting without winning people's hearts. It is a slow but sure process.

April 16, 2009

Pioneers in LGBT Faith: Mary V. Borhek

From the LGBT Religious Archive Network:

Mary V. Borhek was a member of the New Testament Church, an independent charismatic congregation in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, when she discovered that her son Steve Lenius was gay. This was in 1975. In accordance with the beliefs of her congregation, she felt strongly that homosexuality was a sin. Over the next three years, Mary learned much more about homosexuality, and her beliefs changed.

At the time of learning about her son's homosexuality she tape recorded what was happening, believing that she would eventually write a book out how one gay man--her son--had been prayed straight. She began the book, but as time went on and her beliefs changed, it became a book about how she had learned to accept her gay son without wanting to change him. The book was published in 1979 by The Pilgrim Press as My Son Eric. Because Mary did not know how the book would be received, she changed everybody's name except her own--which is her birth name--to give her family privacy and protection. Over time, Steve (Eric) has come out unequivocally, and has acknowledged that he is Eric. My Son Eric has recently been reprinted in a revised and expanded edition, bringing Mary and Steve's story up to the 21st century.

In 1983 The Pilgrim Press published Mary's second book, Coming Out to Parents: A Two-way Survival Guide for Lesbians and Gay Men and Their Parents. This was updated in 1993 with various revisions and an added chapter for gay men, lesbians and their families dealing with AIDS.

Click here to read more about Mary V. Borhek.

April 15, 2009

Did Dr. Laura Actually Call Same-Sex Relationships "Beautiful" and "Healthy"?

She sure did! While not coming out and advocating for same-sex marriage, she spoke highly of committed same-sex relationships. This is newsworthy because she has a national following for her radio show and books, where her views are hardly warm, fuzzy, or particuarly forward-thinking.

However, on a recent Larry King show on CNN, Dr. Larua was, for a moment at least, all of the above. Thanks to TruthWinsOut for the link:

Larry King: But you’ve always favored that marriage must be between a man and woman.Laura

Schlessinger: I’m very big on human beings finding love, attachment and commitment and being faithful to it, because there’s more to benefit when there is real true commitment and faithfulness to it. I still believe, as just every president has, and all the people who ran for office, that marriage is a sacrament between a man and a woman. So not calling it marriage works for me. But that two people would have that sort of commitment to me is very healthy and very positive thing in their lives and society as a whole.

King: So, you favor marriage between a man and a woman, but you applaud the fact that even people of the same-sex can have that kind of commitment to each other.

Schlessinger: That’s a beautiful thing and a healthy thing.

Can't argue with that.

April 14, 2009

Advocacy Group: Equality Forum

The Equality Forum is a nationally focused GLBT advocacy organization. Here's some information from their website about them and their upcoming Equality Forum 2009 coming up April 27-May 3 in Philadelphia:

Equality Forum is a national and international nonprofit 501(c)(3) GLBT civil rights organization with an educational focus. Equality Forum presents the largest annual national and international GLBT civil rights forum, spearheads GLBT History Month, produces documentary films and undertakes high-impact initiatives.

Each spring Equality Forum presents its Global GLBT Event. The Annual Equality Forum comprises seven days of substantive programs, parties and special events—including an international focus; the International Equality Dinner at the National Constitution Center; an annual art exhibit; SundayOUT!, Pennsylvania’s largest annual GLBT street festival; and more—in collaboration with over 65 regional, national and international organizations.

There is much more information on the website, including the organization's history, accomplishments, and goals for the future (including a detailed agenda for the Equality Forum 2009).

Click here for more information.

April 13, 2009

Warren Waffles on Prop 8 Stance, Bails on Interview

Rev. Rick Warren apparently wants to have his cake and eat it too, but what he might have done is succeeded in pissing off people on both sides of the same-sex marriage issue--something that is pretty tough to do.

In a recent interview with CNN's Larry King, Warren tried to distance himself from endorsing Proposition 8. From the Washington Times:

Mr. Warren told CNN's Larry King on Monday that he "never once even gave an endorsement" of the proposition, which said marriage in the state could only involve one man and one woman. The measure won at the polls last November by a close margin, in effect negating an earlier California Supreme Court ruling allowing gay marriages.

Right wingers are not amused. More from the Times:

"I was extremely troubled by the way he appeared to be so anxious to distance himself from the same-sex issue and to make clear he was not an 'activist' and that he'd only addressed the issue in a very minor way," said the Rev. Al Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky.

Wendy Wright, president of Concerned Women for America, said his denial is "absolutely baffling."

"Whether he supports Proposition 8 now, after the fact, is overshadowed by the bizarre claim that he did not say what the evidence so clearly proves he said."

Here's what Warren did doand how he tried to redefine it:

What Mr. Warren said he did do was send out a video to his 22,000-member church explaining his position the week before Proposition 8 went before state voters on Nov. 4.

"Now let me say this really clearly: We support Proposition 8," he said on the video, "and if you believe what the Bible says about marriage, you need to support Proposition 8. I never support a candidate, but on moral issues, I come out very clear."

In his conversation with Mr. King, Mr. Warren said, "All of a sudden out of it, [opponents] made me something that I really wasn't. And I actually — there were a number of things that were put out. I wrote to all my gay friends — the leaders that I knew — and actually apologized to them. That never got out."

Warren then cancelled an appearance on ABC's "This Week" Sunday morning news show only moments before he was supposed to be on live. From The Politico:

Pastor Rick Warren, after making apparently contradictory statements about his stance on a gay-marriage measure, canceled an Easter Sunday appearance on ABC’s “This Week” just “moments before the scheduled interview,” host George Stephanopoulos told viewers.

Stephanopoulos said Warren’s representatives said the best-selling evangelical author was “sick with exhaustion.” The host told viewers that he wished the pastor a speedy recovery.

Seeing this at about 1:15 PM Eastern time, I checked on Saddleback Church's website where live video of their service was being shown. There I saw Rick Warren behind the pulpit, preaching God's word. That's a pretty amazing, dare I say miraculous, recovery.

As I've been involved in GLBT advocacy for a while now, I've run across people who, while they do not believe in equality for gay and lesbian people, I can at least respect the courage of their convictions.

Courage, however, seems sadly lacking from the man who has sold a bazillion books and risen to great prominence teaching people how to lead a purpose driven life.

Shouldn't that purpose include accountability for your own actions? Shouldn't it include the integrity to not bail out on a committment on short notice for what appears to be a dubious reason?

Perhaps Rev. Warren should take time to re-read his own book.

April 12, 2009

Easter Sunday Worship

If you don't have a welcoming church near you, or you just can't make yourself step into one, we're bringing worship to you. Here are links to some worship music and services from open and affirming ministries (all times eastern). I hope you are blessed and take time out of your busy schedule to enter into the Lord's day. NEW SERVICES HAVE BEEN ADDED THIS WEEK!

Don't forget to click on the tab on the upper right of this blog and leave your prayer requests in the comment section so we can petition the Lord for your needs.

We appreicate all of the positive feedback we've received for our Sunday Worship series. If you know of a service we should add to our list, please send an e-mail and share it with me.

Worship Music--sing along and make a joyful noise unto the Lord today for He is Risen!

Live Sunday Services (all times Eastern)
FL-Potters House International Fellowship, Tampa, 11:00 AM
AL-Covenant Community Church, Birmingham, 11:45 AM
OK-Diversity Christian Fellowship International, Tulsa, 1:00 PM
WA-Living Water Fellowship, Kenmore, 1:30 PM

Video Archive
AL-Covenant Community Church, Birmingham
FL-Church of the Holy SpiritSong, Ft. Lauderdale
FL-Potters House International Fellowship, Tampa
GA-Gentle Spirit Christian Church, Atlanta
OK-Diversity Christian Fellowship International, Tulsa
WA-Living Water Fellowship, Kenmore