May 16, 2009

Has James Dobson Surrendered?

According to this US News & World Report blog post, Dr. James Dobson ended a rant against "the utter evil that's coming out of the United States Congress (the hate crimes bill recently passed by the House)" with this stunning quote:

I want to tell you up front that we're not going to ask you to do anything, to make a phone call or to write a letter or anything.

There is nothing you can do at this time about what is taking place because there is simply no limit to what the left can do at this time. Anything they want, they get and so we can't stop them.

We tried with [Health and Human Services Secretary] Kathleen Sebelius and sent thousands of phone calls and emails to the Senate and they didn't pay any attention to it because they don't have to. And so what you can do is pray, pray for this great nation... As I see it, there is no other answer. There's no other answer, short term.

So then what is it exactly that is stopping the White House from engaging in GLBT rights issues if one of the key opposition leaders is giving up?

Click here to read the rest of the post by Dan Gilgoff, who wrote a book about Dobson and Focus on the Family not long ago, at the US News & World Report website.

May 15, 2009

Advocacy Group; The UCC Coalition for LGBT Concerns

The United Church of Christ is known as a very open and affirming denomination, but it is important to note that not all individual churches have signed up as ONA (Open and Affirming). This website identifies ones that have along with the status of other issues within the UCC affecting LGBT members. From the website:


The Coalition provides support and sanctuary to all our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender sisters and brothers, their families and friends; advocates for their full inclusion in church and society; and brings Christ's affirming message of love and justice for all people.

The United Church of Christ Coalition for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Concerns is officially recognized by the United Church of Christ as a related, self-created organization.

The work of The Coalition is focused on three primary areas:

* Creating and supporting Open and Affirming (ONA) settings within the United Church of Christ
* Supporting youth and young adults and those who work with them
* National Gathering

But all of our work is geared to support the work of volunteers on the local level.


• Develop a community organizing emphasis within The Coalition and among UCC groups and other external partners
• Build and expand relationships for support, community, and action for the purpose of:

* “Goosing” and growing Open and Affirming settings
* Increasing Youth and Young Adult ministry
* Strengthening local networks to work on local issues
* Building coalitions with ecumenical, interfaith, and secular partners

This Coalition ministry is rooted in our particular place as Christians working for peace and justice, inspired by the Good News of God’s extravagant welcome.

There's that word again--welcome. That's a really good word to see from a church.

Click here to visit the website for The UCC Coalition for LGBT Concerns.

May 14, 2009

Finding A Congregation That Welcomes a Transwoman

A Facebook friend recently posted the link to a site titled "No Dumb Questions" that contains a lot of important, personal stories from LGBT people. I'll be posting some of them in the weeks ahead. The first one is from transwoman Nicole Garcia and her experience finding a church that welcomed her presenting as a woman. A shout out to St. Paul Lutheran Church in Denver, the congregation that gives this story a happy ending.

May 13, 2009

From 2003 to today...a little history on the "slippery slope" argument

I stumbled onto a 2003 article today on the web and found it fascinating. Here's an excerpt from the Weekly Standard:

"...Among the likeliest effects of gay marriage is to take us down a slippery slope to legalized polygamy and "polyamory" (group marriage). Marriage will be transformed into a variety of relationship contracts, linking two, three, or more individuals (however weakly and temporarily) in every conceivable combination of male and female. A scare scenario? Hardly. The bottom of this slope is visible from where we stand. Advocacy of legalized polygamy is growing. A network of grass-roots organizations seeking legal recognition for group marriage already exists. The cause of legalized group marriage is championed by a powerful faction of family law specialists. Influential legal bodies in both the United States and Canada have presented radical programs of marital reform. Some of these quasi-governmental proposals go so far as to suggest the abolition of marriage. The ideas behind this movement have already achieved surprising influence with a prominent American politician..."

What fascinated me was history. This was written in 2003, right after the Supreme Court decision of Lawrence v. Texas. Apparently, saying that what we do in the privacy of our bedrooms is our business set off a firestorm!

Anyway, it struck me how things have changed, and yet they stay the same. Case in point, I heard a few sound bites from Ann Coulter this morning that almost quoted this article. She went into the whole, if gays can marry then we'll have to legalize marriage with children, animals, threesomes, etc. and on and on.

It's interesting that 5 states now have legal marriage between two people of the same sex and not one of them is even considering these other things! How is that possible? You mean gay marriage is legal and it hasn't completely obliterated "traditional" marriage?! Hmmm. Have we heard anything about a state forcing a church or religion to recognize or perform same-sex marriages? Nope. How about the fact that now all of these pedophiles and group sex advocates will not descend in droves onto the state capitals to demand their right to marry? That would be a "no" as well. How is that when the religious right has been telling us for years how these things would absolutely occur if gay marriage was legalized?

Maybe, just maybe, my right to marry my partner isn't something that even affects traditional marriage, much less destroys it! I know it won't stop straight people from wanting to marry each other. It won't stop them from divorcing half the time either.

In 2003, no state had legal gay marriage or civil unions on the books. Jump to 2009...We have 5 states that have decided to recognize gay relationships, legally. I submit there will be many more to come. Why? Because the longer that gay marriage is legal in any state and there is no real impact on traditional marriage, the less the religious rights' arguments will be able to hold any water. Not that they ever did, mind you.

People like my parents will probably always believe that gay marriage is morally wrong and we shouldn't legalize it. However, I am seeing signs everywhere that the majority is starting to see the light. More young people, especially, are seeing gay marriage for what it is...the right of two people who love each other to marry, no matter their gender.

It's only been 6 years since the Lawrence v. Texas and to see the progress we have made does my heart good. Do we have a long way to go? Of course. But it doesn't change the fact that we've come a long way, Baby!

May 12, 2009

"Stuck in Fear"

Monica Helms has a lot of interesting posts at her blog Trans Universe, and I want to share this one in particular with you. Here's an excerpt from "Stuck in Fear"

One of the most debilitating emotions that can grip a person’s heart and freeze a body in an instant is fear. Everyone of us fears something, be it spiders, rats, crowds, small spaces and even death. These fears don’t last long, and we can easily get past them, with the exception of death. We’ll all go there, eventually.

Yes, we all experience fear, but for many in the transgender community, fear becomes their constant companion. Society gave us a lot to fear and because of that, some trans people have raised fear to an art form. For many, fear has kept them from realizing their potential in life. It serves as their crutch, their excuse, their way to avoid growing as a person. “No. I can’t do that. It scares me.”

The fear of discovery has become a big discussion in our community. Living a fully stealth life, or even a partially stealth one can cause a person to be stuck in fear. No good way to get around this issue can be found without a lot of anxiety and stressful moments. Others have been taken advantage of, or made fun of at work, church and social events, yet fear keeps them from speaking up or standing up for their rights. I hear, “It’s okay. It’ll work out.” Let me tell you from experience, it never does. It gets worse.

Any fear can be conquered. Keep this in mind. If we had the will power and the strength to overcome all of the fears we knew would follow us when we started living our true lives, then we have the will power and strength to overcome other fears that we face in life. Society has made us afraid. We have the power to succeed and to squash the fears they put upon us. The answer to defeating fear lies in your heart. All you need to do is to let it out.

Monica touches on her faith elsewhere in her post, but I want to add a very important verse of scripture to her message:

(Phillipians 4:13, NIV) I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

We can ALL overcome fear with the promises of the Lord, like the scripture above.

Click here to read the rest of "Stuck In Fear."

May 11, 2009

"What Do Mothers and Gay Marriage Have In Common"

One of my Facebook friends linked to this essay from the Huffington Post, and after reading it I thought it was worth sharing with you. Here's an excerpt:

Gays and lesbian parents living authentically allow people to see that their love and joy does not threaten the families of those who hold different values.. I believe as more people come to know this as truth we will see allies growing in their support of the unfettered right to love and care for children. The argument that same-sex marriage erodes traditional standards that have been entrenched since the time of the Bible is erroneous. This same argument adds that gay marriage will distort children's views of sex and love. What they fail to acknowledge is that society does not evolve out of a rigid adherence to tradition. Our country and society itself was founded out of radical departures from oppression and stifled expression.

Gay men and women have been adopting / birthing children and creating families for years. Children will continue to have same sex parents regardless of whether marriage is sanctified or not. In the United States alone, 10 million people have at least one gay or lesbian parent. It would be healthier for individuals and society for all children to be raised in environments where the love his or her gay parents share is legally and socially recognized.

Research cited from an article in the journal of the American Sociological Association by Laura Hamilton, (Indiana University) illustrates that the commitments by gay and lesbian parents are naturally more intensified due to the often arduous roads to adoption. Gay parenting "accidents" are a rarity. I personally know gay parents who have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars and received more intensified scrutiny in the adoption process. The same study of 13,000 parents including 161 adoptive families shows in some cases that adoptive parents actually rate better on activities including helping with homework, parental involvement in school, exposure to cultural activities and family. Also, the study specifically states that gay and lesbian parents may go the extra mile to ensure children's welfare in response to stigma and less social acceptance.

It is apparent that the argument that gay marriage is detrimental to society because of its potential effect on children is erroneous. My assumption is that those who claim that gay marriage is unhealthy for children have not taken the responsibility to comprehensively explore the research available that proves otherwise. This leads me to ponder if a society of hate has blindly become a money making institution. If not, then organizations that claim to be invested in the interest of children might consider taking the millions upon millions of dollars raised to spread hate and fear and use it to feed and clothe the plethora of hungry children living far below the poverty line right here in California.

There much more from this excellent esssay here at the Huffington Post.

May 10, 2009

Sunday Worship 5/10/09

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.

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!

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

Video Archive
AL-Covenant Community Church, Birmingham
CA-Glory Tabernacle Christian Center, Long Beach
FL-Church of the Holy SpiritSong, Ft. Lauderdale
FL-Potters House International Fellowship, Tampa
GA-Gentle Spirit Christian Church, Atlanta
MI-Christ Community Church, Spring Lake, MI
OK-Expressions Community Fellowship, Oklahoma City
OK-Diversity Christian Fellowship International, Tulsa
WA-Living Water Fellowship, Kenmore