homosexuality, religion, and civil rights

source (via dave/karen) (realllly clever wordplay)

just a mishmash/linkdump of not-particularly-groundbreaking ideas, news, commentary.  but i felt the need for it to be documented. 


it was sort of crazy, over the span of 48 hours:

1) north carolina passed amendment one, which functionally had no purpose (as gays couldn’t marry there anyway) other than to be DOUBLY SURE that gays couldn’t marry.

don’t think this is super surprising, but this chart (if true) is certainly interesting:

Which brings me to North Carolina and Amendment One.

Despite the fact that the North Carolina law already holds that marriage in the eyes of state is only between a man and a woman, an amendment was put on the ballot to permanently ban same-sex marriage in the state constitution. The initiative doesn’t appear to change anything on a practical level, (though some are saying it may have unintended negative consequences on heterosexual relationships), but seems to serve primarily as an ideological statement

….an expensive, destructive, and impractical ideological statement. 

Conservatives in the state—who you would think would be more opposed to tampering with constitutions—supported the amendment, and last night it passed. Religious leaders led the charge in support of the amendment, with 93-year-old  Billy Graham taking out multiple ads in publications across the state supporting the measure. 

As I watched my Facebook and Twitter feeds last night, the reaction among my friends fell into an imperfect but highly predictable pattern. Christians over 40 were celebrating. Christians under 40 were mourning.  Reading through the comments, the same thought kept returning to my mind as occurred to me when I first saw that Billy Graham ad: You’re losing us. 

I’ve said it a million times, and I’ll say it again…(though I’m starting to think that no one is listening): My generation is tired of the culture wars. 

We are tired of fighting, tired of vain efforts to advance the Kingdom through politics and power, tired of drawing lines in the sand, tired of being known for what we are against, not what we are for.

Young Christians are ready for peace.

We are ready to lay down our arms. 

We are ready to stop waging war and start washing feet.  

And if we cannot find that sort of peace within the Church, I fear we will look for it elsewhere. source

reminds me of this leaked memo from a republican pollster saying that the republican party needs to get on board with gay marriage “before it’s too late”. 

2) president obama endorsed gay marriage.  sean s asked me about it at lunch in that really joking way that he does, but it honestly was a really, really incredible moment.  i have recently discovered andrew sullivan, and he describes the feeling way better than i could:

I do not know how orchestrated this was; and I do not know how calculated it is. What I know is that, absorbing the news, I was uncharacteristically at a loss for words for a while, didn’t know what to write, and, like many Dish readers, there are tears in my eyes.

So let me simply say: I think of all the gay kids out there who now know they have their president on their side. I think of Maurice Sendak, who just died, whose decades-long relationship was never given the respect it deserved. I think of the centuries and decades in which gay people found it impossible to believe that marriage and inclusion in their own families was possible for them, so crushed were they by the weight of social and religious pressure. I think of all those in the plague years shut out of hospital rooms, thrown out of apartments, written out of wills, treated like human garbage because they loved another human being. I think of Frank Kameny. I think of the gay parents who now feel their president is behind their sacrifices and their love for their children.

The interview changes no laws; it has no tangible effect. But it reaffirms for me the integrity of this man we are immensely lucky to have in the White House. Obama’s journey on this has been like that of many other Americans, when faced with the actual reality of gay lives and gay relationships. Yes, there was politics in a lot of it. But not all of it. I was in the room long before the 2008 primaries when Obama spoke to the mother of a gay son about marriage equality. He said he was for equality, but not marriage. Five years later, he sees – as we all see – that you cannot have one without the other. But even then, you knew he saw that woman’s son as his equal as a citizen. It was a moment – way off the record at the time – that clinched my support for him.

Today Obama did more than make a logical step. He let go of fear. He is clearly prepared to let the political chips fall as they may. That’s why we elected him. That’s the change we believed in. The contrast with a candidate who wants to abolish all rights for gay couples by amending the federal constitution, and who has donated to organizations that seek to “cure” gays, who bowed to pressure from bigots who demanded the head of a spokesman on foreign policy solely because he was gay: how much starker can it get?

My view politically is that this will help Obama. He will be looking to the future generations as his opponent panders to the past. The clearer the choice this year the likelier his victory. And after the darkness of last night, this feels like a widening dawn.  source

It’s hugely important and to tell you the truth, i didn’t realize how important it would be until it happened. Beforehand, I was kind of steeled. I was like, ‘I don’t care, he’s going to disappoint us again.’ And then I sat down and watched our president tell me that I am his equal, that I’m no longer outside, I’m fully part of this family and to hear the president who is in some ways a father figure speak to that, the tears came down like with many people in our families, to be included.

I never understood the power of a president’s words until that day, really. I thought, all that matters is the states and the Congress and the Defense of Marriage Act and I had all this in my head and suddenly this man saying, ‘I’m with you, I get it, you’re like me, I’m like you, there is nothing between us, we are the same people and we are equal human beings and I want to treat you the way you treat me.’ That — that was overwhelming. That’s all I can say. I was at a loss for words. source

NewsweekLogo-1 [Converted]Newsweekcovers

gay friends married before you

(there has been infinite internet ink spilled on how this will affect his reelection chances, which i actually do find interesting, but this entry is long enough as it is.)

3) republican candidate mitt romney reportedly bullied a student for being gay. description of event

how this reflects on romney’s character:

It is hard to forget that scene after reading it; how easy could it be after living it? For the five former students who spoke to the Posts Jason Horowitz —four of them allowed their names to be used—it seems to have been impossible, becoming the sort of indelible, awful wrong that haunts both sides. “It happened very quickly, and to this day it troubles me,” Thomas Buford said. “What a senseless, stupid, idiotic thing to do.” “It was vicious,” said Philip Maxwell. “He was just easy pickins,” said Matthew Friedemann. He told the Post that he wondered if they’d get in trouble. They didn’t; nor did Romney when another student thought to be gay spoke in class and he called out, “Atta Girl!” Lauber, however, was kicked out of Cranbrook, a private all-boys boarding and day school, when someone saw him smoking a cigarette, alone.

A fourth boy who was there that day, David Seed, still had it on his mind when he stopped for a drink at a bar in O’Hare Airport thirty years later, and “noticed a familiar face”:

“Hey, you’re John Lauber,” Seed recalled saying at the start of a brief conversation. Seed, also among those who witnessed the Romney-led incident, had gone on to a career as a teacher and principal. Now he had something to get off his chest.

“I’m sorry that I didn’t do more to help in the situation,” he said.

Lauber paused, then responded, “It was horrible.” He went on to explain how frightened he was during the incident, and acknowledged to Seed, “It’s something I have thought about a lot since then.”

The one person who says he has not thought about it a lot is Mitt Romney. His campaign told the Post, “The stories of fifty years ago seem exaggerated and off base and Governor Romney has no memory of participating in these incidents.” Thursday morning, as it became clear that this was no kind of answer—that Horowitz and Julie Tate, who contributed to the reporting, had this story down, with witnesses who are members of both political parties and have grown into a range of professions—Romney, on Fox News Radio, offered a blanket apology for anything that might have slipped his mind:

Back in high school, you know, I did some dumb things, and if anybody was hurt by that or offended, obviously, I apologize for that… You know, I don’t, I don’t remember that particular incident [laughs]… I participated in a lot of high jinks and pranks during high school, and some might have gone too far, and for that I apologize.

Does he count this as a high jink or a prank? It was neither; it is hard to imagine that hurt, rather than being the byproduct, was anything other than the point of the attack on Lauber. In terms of what a gay teen-ager might encounter, and what other boys might go along with at a school like Cranbrook, 1965 was different; but memory and empathy are not qualities that have only been invented since then. As our country has changed, and the other boys became men, they seem to have turned the events of that day over in their minds, not once, but many times, and made something new out of it. That’s it why it’s all the worse that Romney says he can’t remember—that he walked blithely away from the boy crying on the ground and kept going. Was there nowhere in him for that sight to lodge?

What one does as a teen-ager does not need to mark a person or a politician for life. We can all be stupid. For Senator Rand Paul, it’s Aqua Buddha; for Senator Robert Byrd, it was, more darkly and at a more mature age, his affiliation with the Ku Klux Klan. It took many more years than it should, but Byrd learned how to talk about that in a way that suggested understanding and repentance. Both of those are necessary.

And how far has Romney moved? This story is resonant because one can, all too easily, see Romney walking away even now, or simply failing to connect, to grasp hurt. How he talks about this incident will be impossible to divorce from how he talks about same-sex marriage in the wake of President Obama’s announcement, and about questions of basic dignity for gay and lesbian Americans. But unless he deals with it soundly, it will also be present as people wonder about his compassion for anyone not as well situated and cosseted as he has always been. Who else might he walk away from? Until now, the campaign has talked about his fondness for pranks as a way to humanize him; his wife called him wild and crazy. Is this what they think that means?

Can Romney, in the end, see this story from anyone’s perspective but his own? There were two vantage points on the campus of Cranbrook that day: Romney’s, looking at Lauber; and that of Lauber, who was figuring out who he was, with his newly dyed hair “draped over his eye,” or earlier, at a mirror, wondering how it looked. One hopes he decided it was beautiful, and never changed his mind. Lauber died, of cancer, in 2004, after a life that sounds peripatetic and, in some ways, unsettled. The Post spoke to his surviving sisters: “He kept his hair blond until he died, said his sister Chris. ‘He never stopped bleaching it.’ ” source

pitch-perfect “what he should have said”:

I’m still waiting for the moment when Romney actually tells the truth about something difficult.

He could have said, “You know, I’ve been troubled by the Cranbrook episode for most of my life, and I feel relieved, in a way, that it’s come out now. I did a really stupid and terrible thing. Teenage boys sometimes do such things, and deserve to be punished for them. What I most regret is that I never apologized to John, and won’t be able to now that he’s gone, but let me apologize to his family and friends. Bullying is unacceptable under any circumstances. It is especially unacceptable when prejudice–against race, ethnicity or sexual orientation–is involved. If elected President, I will try to atone for my teenage behavior by campaigning against bullying all across this country. What I did back then should be an example of how not to behave. I hope we can all learn from this. I know that I have.”

Instead, Romney has a near-perfect record of cowardice, obfuscation and downright lies. It shows enormous disrespect for the intelligence of the public. source


“Conservatives go on and on about ‘freedom’ right up until two guys kiss.”

And then someone else chimed in with the reminder that there are (or used to be) two kinds of “conservatives”:

  • the traditional kind, who worry about things like big government deficits and too much regulation, and
  • the new kind, who want to re-combine (the Christian) church and state, overturn Roe v. Wade, diss education, reject science, ban gay marriage (and homosexuality), teach creationism as fact, and so forth.

In other words, in the common lingo, there are “fiscal conservatives” and “social conservatives.”

There is nothing “conservative” about wanting to ban gay marriage and abortion, emphasize Christian religious values in government decisions, teach creationism, et al.

Although the folks who advocate such policies take care to frame them as issues of “freedom,” “smaller government,” and “state’s rights,” this is just clever marketing.

It would not increase “freedom” to ban gay marriage or abortion. It would increase regulation and restriction. It would make government regulation and enforcement more over-bearing, not less.

Specifically, it would force everyone else in the country to hew to the moral views of a distinct minority of citizens—a minority who are arrogant enough to believe that what they think is “right” and what everyone else thinks is “wrong.”

The decision by these folks to label themselves “conservative” was a brilliant marketing move, because it  associated them with reasonable Americans who love what their country stands for (freedom) and actually do support self-determination, equality, the right to pursue happiness, and other critical tenets of American freedom.

But these folks are not conservative.

In fact, they’re the opposite of conservative.

They’re actually aggressive, in that they feel justified in imposing their own moral and religious values on everyone else.

So, speaking on behalf of fiscal conservatives, maybe it’s time we came up with a new label for these folks—the so-called “social conservatives.”

business insider – i thought it was a really well written piece.  thanks to patrick and sean h for teaching me about this. 


the “it gets better” video from the LGBT group at (mormon) BYU

colbert jesus help the poor

gawker – NC Pastor Who Told Congregants to Punch Their Effeminate Children Claims It’s What Jesus Would Have Said

During his 55-minute sermon, Harris repeatedly called on worshipers to “squash” their son’s “girlish behavior,” and “give him a good punch” if he starts “acting like a female.” Same goes for daughters who start “acting too butch.”

I’m Christian, Unless You’re Gay.  a really nice manifesto. 

The greatest spiritual leaders in history have all preached love for others as the basis for all happiness, and never did they accompany such mandates with a list of unlovable actions or deeds. They never said, love everybody except for the gays. Love everybody except for the homeless. Love everybody except for the drug users. Love everybody except for the gang members, or those covered in ink, or the spouse abusers. They didn’t tell us it was okay to love everybody with the exception of the “trailer trash,” those living in poverty, or the illegal immigrants. They didn’t tell us it was okay to love everybody except for our ex-lovers, our lovers’ ex lovers, or our ex-lovers’ lovers. The mandate was pretty damn clear, wasn’t it?

Love others.


So if this is the founding directive of all the major religions… why is it that sometimes the most “Christlike” people are they who have no religion at all?

A Teen’s Brave Response to “I’m Christian, Unless You’re Gay”

He came home and showed me your article and asked me what I thought about it. I read just the title and became furious at his teacher and at you (even though I know you had nothing to do with her handing out the assignment). Anyway, I confiscated it from him and told him he wasn’t to do anything with it till I had a chance to read it first.

And then I got madder and madder as I read it as I felt like it was a direct attack against our beliefs and our Christian religion and that it was promoting homosexuality, a practice that around here is a huge “sin”.

I gave my son an earful about homosexuality and God and told him that he could tell his teacher that he would not be participating and if she had a problem, she could come talk to me and then I threw the article in the trash. My son didn’t say anything just walked into his room and shut the door.

the son comes out, it’s a very sweet story that even melted richard lawson’s heart.  (though should be noted that there’s a nontrivial chance that the story is fabricated)

HOMOSEXUALITY AND MISCEGENATION/RACIAL CIVIL RIGHTS.  miscegenation being mixed-race marriages.

This was a speech given August 15 1970 by Huey Newton co-founder of the Black Panther Party..here he addresses the issue of Gay Rights… Its serious food for thought coming in the aftermath of President Obama endorsing Same-sex Message…

During the past few years strong movements have developed among women and among homosexuals seeking their liberation. There has been some uncertainty about how to relate to these movements.

Whatever your personal opinions and your insecurities about homosexuality and the various liberation movements among homosexuals and women (and I speak of the homosexuals and women as oppressed groups), we should try to unite with them in a revolutionary fashion. I say ” whatever your insecurities are” because as we very well know, sometimes our first instinct is to want to hit a homosexual in the mouth, and want a woman to be quiet. We want to hit a homosexual in the mouth because we are afraid that we might be homosexual; and we want to hit the women or shut her up because we are afraid that she might castrate us, or take the nuts that we might not have to start with.

We must gain security in ourselves and therefore have respect and feelings for all oppressed people. We must not use the racist attitude that the White racists use against our people because they are Black and poor. Many times the poorest White person is the most racist because he is afraid that he might lose something, or discover something that he does not have. So you’re some kind of a threat to him. This kind of psychology is in operation when we view oppressed people and we are angry with them because of their particular kind of behavior, or their particular kind of deviation from the established norm. source


Gawker – Dan Savage Sorry About ‘Pansy-Ass’ Comment, But Bashing Gay People with Bible Quotes Is Still Bullshit

Syndicated columnist and anti-bullying activist Dan Savage delivered the keynote speech at the JEA/NSPA National High School Journalism Convention in Seattle two weeks ago. Never one to mince words (or make up new ones), Savage once again criticized the hypocrisy of justifying anti-gay attitudes with bible passages while ignoring the parts that advocate for slavery or torture or other things considered offensive today.

People often point out that they can’t help it, they can’t help with the anti-gay bullying, because it says right there in Leviticus, it says right there in Timothy, it says right there in Romans that being gay is wrong. We can learn to ignore the bullshit in the Bible about gay people.

During this portion of his address, several Christian students stormed out, to which Savage responded by saying, “It’s funny to someone who is on the receiving end of beatings that are justified by the Bible how pansy-ass people react when you push back.”

Not surprisingly, this set off a firestorm in the right-wing blogosphere, with many claiming Savage was proving his own hypocrisy by bullying Christians.

“Using profanity to deride the Bible-and then mocking the Christian students after they left the room-is obviously a form of bullying and name-calling,” wrote Focus on the Family affiliate CitizenLink.

Savage has since responded by issuing an apology for his use of the term “pansy-ass” in reference to the students who left the room, but stopped short of retracting his remarks on religious hypocrisy:

I didn’t call anyone’s religion bullshit. I did say that there is bullshit-“untrue words or ideas“-in the Bible. That is being spun as an attack on Christianity. Which is bullshhh… which is untrue. I was not attacking the faith in which I was raised. I was attacking the argument that gay people must be discriminated against-and anti-bullying programs that address anti-gay bullying should be blocked (or exceptions should be made for bullying “motivated by faith”)-because it says right there in the Bible that being gay is wrong. Yet the same people who make that claim choose to ignore what the Bible has to say about a great deal else. I did not attack Christianity. I attacked hypocrisy. My remarks can only be read as an attack on all Christians if you believe that all Christians are hypocrites. Which I don’t believe.

Economist – A Race to take Umbrage

A COUPLE of weeks ago Dan Savage, a columnist and activist perhaps best known for making Rick Santorum hate Google and for trying to comfort bullied gay teens, gave the right a gift. At a high-school journalism convention, he attacked Bible-backed anti-gay bigotry. He pointed out that the Bible does indeed condemn homosexuality, but it also endorses slavery. “We can learn to ignore the bullshit in the Bible about gay people,” he said, “the same way we learned to ignore the bullshit in the Bible about shellfish, about slavery, about dinner, about farming, about menstruation, about masturbation…We ignore bullshit in the Bible about all sorts of things.” During this portion of his speech some students walked out. When he moved on to another topic, he said, “You can tell the Bible guys in the hall to come back now because I’m done beating up the Bible. It’s funny to someone who is on the receiving end of beatings justified by the Bible how pansy-assed people react when you push back.”

Mr Savage was making one valid point and one sloppy one. The former: people who justify anti-gay bigotry by brandishing a Bible but ignore other, less convenient biblical prohibitions (the list might also include mixed fabrics and divorce) are hypocrites. The latter: people quick to condemn ought not to be so quick to take offence. The problem with the latter point is that however true it is in the abstract, it was not necessarily true in the particular. No evidence exists that the students who walked out ever condemned or bullied anyone. However poorly Mr Savage may have been treated in high school, it was not by the students in the audience, and they deserved more from a famous and accomplished journalist than derision. Mr Savage acknowledged as much when he apologised, both for the regrettable and infantile slur “pansy-assed” and for using what the great J. Anthony Lukas called “a barnyard epithet” to refer to the Bible. (He could, of course, have opted to make a broader point: that nobody should be so quick to take offence; that journalists will hear a lot of things over the course of a career that they find offensive and even hurtful, and walking out anytime that happens will result in a short career and a narrow mind; that, however ugly his language Mr Savage was at least advancing arguments, and that surely at least one of those offended souls hoping to make a life out of words could have found a few to hurl back at him rather than just flouncing out in a huff.)

Mr Savage’s apology did not stop the outrage machine. Some seem to have taken particular delight in hurling Mr Savage’s epithets—bully and basher (of Christians and Christianity, rather than gays)—back at him. The American Thinker harrumphs, “Evidently, bullying is one of those things that is defined by the ‘victim’.” Well, yes: in fact it is. Bullying is the strong picking on the weak, not the other way around (the other way around is satire). One could make the argument that in the case of Mr Savage’s speech, he was the strong one, and the high-school students were “victims”, but that would be weak tea indeed. Mr Savage is one person, not a movement, and of course those students whom he gave the vapours were free to leave. Not everyone has such freedom. Gay teens, not Christian teens, kill themselves at higher rates than the general populace. Nobody calls Christianity an abomination. One blogger accused Mr Savage of “Christian-bashing” for pointing out the Bible’s position on slavery. A writer for a Focus on the Family site said that “using profanity to deride the Bible…is obviously a form of bullying and name-calling.” In fact it is neither: Mr Savage, however intemperate his language, was arguing, not name-calling. That is a crucial distinction, and one that too often eludes the showily devout. If the Bible is in fact the word of God it can survive a few arguments about context and application.


a couple of issues at play… the “racial caste system” within gay culture… “straight acting” as something desirable…. whether you can use phrases like “straight acting” or “no asians”, etc.  maybe this is an entry for another day, but i have debated this to death, and i have come to the conclusion that both sides make very compelling arguments, i personally feel like it’s alright to use potentially hierarchy-entrenching language.  two pieces on why we should be more cognizant of our words.  (harder to find pieces arguing the other side.)

Then, you delve deeper into a sexual level, and that’s where things get bitchy. Rejection is an intrinsic component of being gay today, because we live in a society where we’re tolerated to bust our asses making straight people look good but we’re not allowed to get married like them. To make things worse, sexual rejection isn’t even rejection from straight people. It’s rejection from other gay men. Ouch.

Because we gay men are encouraged to relate to each other solely on this sexual level, race suddenly becomes a touchy factor. Racial preferences exist whether we like them or not, and some gay men are particularly, even gleefully, cruel about how they choose to advertise what color they prefer their men. (On that note, I personally don’t think racial preference is racism; it’s just kind of boring. Who goes to Yogurtland and only gets one flavor? Not I!)

Because to grow up a minority in America is an odd thing; there’s nothing more I wanted than to fit in, to not stand out as an easy target for bullies, but fitting in meant forsaking my identity. And the slow realization that I was gay crept in at the same time I wondered why every image of the “American ideal” looked, sounded, and acted nothing like me.

So as a kid, I would look in the mirror at my features, my smooth skin, my black eyes, and it was easy to feel ugly. It was easy to agree.

I worked so hard to hear that I was attractive. I had something to prove, that I was no longer that sad, effeminate boy doggy-paddling at the shallow end of the pool. So I hit the gym, and sculpted my body from obesity to lean muscle. So I built a persona of hypersexual confidence and took an obscene pleasure in breaking hearts. So I went through long periods of promiscuity and drug use, where I used my sexuality as validation. “If you fuck me, I exist.”

And I was miserable.

Let me be clear. I know now that I am not ugly. Actually, I am a profoundly beautiful person. But for me to say this, for me to put this in writing, I first had to crawl out of many holes, I had to rewire the neurons in my brain, I had to rewrite history.

But at 25, I finally see that there are no boxes for us, just limitless possibility. And while I hate to speak in generalizations, I know this much to be true when it comes to me and my fellow Gay men of Color:

We’re Beautiful.  source1,source2

We’ve all been there.

You visit a hookup or dating website, cruise somebody’s profile and are confronted with the list: no fats; no femmes; no Asians; no blacks; masc only; my age or younger; str8-acting, you be too; non-scene; and on and on. What we find is a lot of hate when all we want is head.

The negative language so prevalent on Craigslist and Grindr seems to signal that the culture of sexual liberation has been replaced by sexual segregation.

Gay sexual oppression is catalogued painfully on the Douchebags of Grindr blog, which sorts prejudiced profiles based on everything from racism and sexism to self-hating homophobia. But even though we see it everywhere, most people are as willing to admit to the exclusionary aspects of their desires as Lindsay Lohan is to submit to drug testing — statements are qualified by “Sorry, that’s just what I’m into” or “No hard feelings, it’s just my preference.”

Sycamore says that while people have the right to say what they’re attracted to, they have a responsibility to watch how they say it. “On the one hand, people are stating their preference, but on the other, these are not neutral terms. If we were living in a culture where everything was the same, it wouldn’t be a problem. But when sexual preference reinforces dominant systems of power in an unquestioning way, that’s when it becomes problematic.”

Words can beat people down, but it’s within our power to change how we frame our desires, and even to change our desires to create more inclusive screwing. By challenging ourselves and others we can expand our desires. So go out there and be indiscriminately promiscuous. Or deny that bigoted beefcake a hookup because of his prejudiced profile.

Just make sure you tell him there are no hard feelings — it’s just a preference.  source – not just a preference

my stance, fwiw: desires are desires, being explicit about them can create so-called hierarchies, but i don’t believe that our grindr wording is going to move the needle on hierarchies or desires.  the tiptoeing around the subject, while maybe preserving a few feelings, comes at the cost of vagueness/awkwardness/firestorms/unresponsive rejection/etc.  just tell me if you’re into me and we can move on.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: