I regret that due to a very important prior engagement I will be unable to attend the light up the night event; however, I am still lighting my candle and hope that some day, we will find peace and goodwill toward ALL people.
Archive for December, 2008
Many people in the LGBT Community have expressed their outrage over the choice of Rick Warren to give the invocation at the inauguration of President-Elect Barack Obama. Mr. Warren, being a conservative pastor at Saddleback Church, has expressed opinions against abortion rights, same-sex marriage and stem cell research. Because of his conservative viewpoint and exclusionary attitude toward non-heterosexuals, LGBT activists have shown deep outrage over his selection.
But the real questions shouldn’t be why Mr. Obama chose to have Mr. Warren deliver the invocation, instead we should be asking, why, in a country with separation of church and state, an invocation is being said at all to kick-start a Presidential Inauguration? It’s simple. In spite of the ideology of separation of church and state, the United States of America has become increasingly theocratic. Legislation and regulations are no longer based upon what is just and right in the eyes of man, but what is just and right in the eyes of the church.
Obama has defended his selection of Mr. Warren stating that it is part of his political promise to include all Americans during his presidency; however, he has not made any statements regarding allowing religion to be part of an otherwise political ceremony.
This episode is dedicated to conservative hate monger Paul Weyrich, President and CEO of “Free Congress Foundation”, who died this morning at age 66. Mr. Weyrich was held by some as a “patriot” and “conservative institution.” However, those that were the target of his hate will forever remember him as a bigot and hate monger. His death will hopefully be the beginning of the end of an era of hate, misinformation and inhumanity against homosexuals. One of the many stupid things Mr. Weyrich said about gays was:
Homosexuals tend to be preoccupied with sex.
Mr. Weyrich could not have been more off the mark. I am of the opinion that Mr. Weyrich was obviously more preoccupied with homosexual sex than homosexuals – which is the case with many hate groups who often protest with signs showing stick figures having anal intercourse. Such preoccupation with sex on the part of conservative hate groups presents the illusion that it is the homosexual who is preoccupied with sex as we are often having to defend ourselves from such attacks on our sexual practices, unlike our heterosexual counterparts.
In fact, just this morning when I rolled out of bed, headed to the shower and ultimately got ready for work, sex didn’t cross my mind at all. Instead I was concerned about the inclement weather and the accidents on the highway which would likely result. I talked with my mother, not about sex but about plans for the holiday and which relatives would be at her house and when they would arrive. I called the office to let them know I was delayed due to the accidents on the highway. Not once did I think about sex.
I didn’t think about sex at all this morning until I read of Mr. Weyrich’s death and ultimately, many of the stupid things he has said about homosexuals over the course of his lifetime – it was Mr. Weyrich that was preoccupied with homosexual sex in his battle against the homosexual, and his preoccupation with it was the only reason I thought of sex at all this morning.
Religion has often been used to excuse violence and intolerance throughout history. Today, even I have to argue that things are much better than they were during the Crusades, Inquisition or Holocaust as far as violence in the name of “God.” However, such violence still exists and will continue as long as religions remain exclusionary – believing that anyone who does not believe the way they believe is “damned” to some sort of eternal rot. Throughout history, such exclusionary views have caused:
- The Crusades (Beginning 1095): As a religious driven military movement, the Crusades, fought mainly against Muslims, were efforts to recapture the “Holy Land” which lead to irrational claims of “crosses” appearing on chests of leaders, demoralization of non-Christians and mass murders of innocent men, women and children.
- The Inquisition (Beginning 1184): The purpose of the Inquisition was stated in a 1578 handbook for inquisitors as, “… for punishment does not take place primarily and per se for the correction and good of the person punished, but for the public good in order that others may become terrified and weaned away from the evils they would commit.” Such as statement makes it clear that the goal was to inspire fear amongst a people in order to rule and conquer them. During the Inquisitions church leaders often supported the enslavement and/or murder of “heretics”.
- Reformation (circa 1518): The intent of the Reformation was to restore Christianity to a more “pure” form. In order to do so, millions upon millions of Europeans were murdered as Catholics murdered Protestants and Protestants murdered Catholics. In some instances, those that “opposed” the church authority were murdered and hung in cages as a reminder to all what happens to such persons.
- Witch Hunts (beginning circa 1480 in Europe): The witch hunts in the United States were short lived and resulted in very few deaths compared to the witch hunts in Europe where countless people were wrongfully murdered after bogus trials.
- The Holocaust (beginning circa 1933): Christian Fundamentalism was a primary cause of the Holocaust. Jewish persons had been murdered and enslaved throughout Europe’s violent Christian history and the Nazi’s continued this long tradition of murder – claiming it to be for the betterment of God and God’s wish. Although the Jewish people took the largest number of casualties, other groups were murdered including, homosexuals, Soviet citizens, political prisoners and the disabled.
- The Christian Identity Movement (circa 1915): Crimes Against the Jewish, African Americans and Homosexuals continued in the name of “God” with the advent of groups such as the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) during the Christian Identity Movement. These groups again made claims of their intentions to purify the Christian religion and use violence, intimidation and other horrifying methods to make their case. Other groups which are considered part of the Christian Identity Movement include: the American Nazi Party; Aryan Nations; Church of Jesus Christ Christian; Jubilee, National Association for the Advancement of White People; The Order; Scriptures for America; White Aryan Resistance (WAR); and White Separatist Banner.
Modern times have changed in that government sanctioning of such murders and methods no longer exists. Fewer people are being murdered in the name of “God”; however, the longstanding use of “God” to cause fear remains by way of group such as “Focus on Family” which forgets that homosexuals are members of families and websites such as godhatesfags.com (non-linking intentional). Each of the above listed examples show an embarrassing time in our world history. As we look back in time, we label these groups as radicals, extremists, egotists and murderers, not as the righteous. If we have learned nothing else from the above examples, let us learn that history will again repeat itself and the supposed “Christian Groups” of today will be known in the future as enemies of freedom and goodwill.
Few realize that due to Puritan influence in the 1600’s, Massachusetts banned Christmas. The rationale behind this was three fold:
- The ritual reminded the Puritans of the Church of England, which they were escaping;
- They didn’t consider Christmas as a religious holiday as it did not coincide with the birth of Christ as purported; and
- The Puritans frowned on drinking, feasting and playing games – which was a big part of the Christmas holiday.
The law was only active for 22 years and read:
For preventing disorders, arising in several places within this jurisdiction by reason of some still observing such festivals as were superstitiously kept in other communities, to the great dishonor of God and offense of others: it is therefore ordered by this court and the authority thereof that whosoever shall be found observing any such day as Christmas or the like, either by forbearing of labor, feasting, or any other way, upon any such account as aforesaid, every such person so offending shall pay for every such offence five shilling as a fine to the county.
So to all those proposing religious influence within our government by banning same-sex marriage, I say:
I spend a lot of time on this blog focusing on the horrible things people say about homosexuals and the hateful and spiteful acts against homosexuals happening throughout the nation and the world. Sometimes, I have to take a break and look for signs of hope. In so doing, I came across a few videos I would like to share.
Sean Chapin’s Original Song “United We Love” – an anthem for the equal rights movement born from the passage of gay-marriage bans in the United States during the 2008 election. Should I ever be given the right to marry the man I have loved for the past 11 years, this will be my wedding song. I’ve watched this video about 5 times in the last 24 hours. It both makes me sad and happy – but most importantly, it reminds me that I am hopeful for a brighter tomorrow.
United We Love, by Sean Chapin:
Mandy Steckleberg Hates Everyone , but she Loves the Gays. Her song, “I Love the Gays” takes a much more lighthearted look (she is a comedian after all) at the gay marriage issue than Sean Chapin’s song (above). This song was released before American’s decided other American’s weren’t good enough.
My favorite thing about this video is its ability to stereotype homosexuals and still make me laugh myself silly while simultaneously wondering if I can get the hot guy’s phone number.
I Love the Gays, by Mandy Steckleberg:
Oded Gross uses satire to confront the argument that gay marriage would destroy the sanctity of marriage in this song titled “It’s All Because (The Gays Are Getting Married)”. The video is well put together and even has a heterosexual man slapping the ice cream out of a small child’s hands – the audacity! Yeah… I laughed, particularly at the “Dick” reference – as in Cheney. I also love the fact that the argument regarding the sanctity of marriage is so seemlessly satirized. Really??? Is the argument so bad that just by putting the argument into a song it takes on a satirical sort of whine?
It’s All Because (The Gays Are Getting Married), by Oded Gross:
Join the Impact is a community driven website centered around LGBTQ people and their supporters. The design of the site allows members to actively change aspects of pages, add content and update tags. A small contingent of users have abused this site, vandalizing it by adding tags to the discussions such as “Butt Pirates, Faggots, Ass Rape, Cum Guzzlers, Fucking Faggots, Niggers, Fudge Packers” and other derogatory terms.
Although legitimate users are removing the remarks, the haters continue their efforts. This is a prime example of the mistreatment of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered persons (and the continued mistreatment of “people of color”) in society.
I remain baffled as to why mainstream society doesn’t recognize this hatred for what it is – poor education. As the religious right continues to lie about the LGBT community (isn’t lying a sin?) we will continue to see such acts of hatred.
NOTE: I used the phrase “people of color” above as that phrase always makes me think of a bumper sticker I see periodically in South Texas which reads “De Colores” (of color) with a rainbow behind it. Although I think that is actually a Latino art community sticker, it has always given me pause.
A lot has been happening lately and I haven’t released a new Stupid Things People Say About Gays in a while, so without further ado, I provide this quote from Matt Barber of the ironically named “Liberty Council”.
A number of homosexuals and homosexual activists are actually calling for violence, calling for churches to be burned to the ground — churches that supported these amendments.
Mr. Barber goes on to note that these calls for violence aren’t merely homosexuals “blowing of steam” and that such violence would constitute a “hate crime” under the definition.
On one point I could almost agree with Mr. Barber – that violence against a “Christian” simply for being a “Christian” would constitute a hate crime under some state laws. However, when the action is against someone verbally assaulting you, hate crime law is negated as you are not attacking them solely on their religion.
Now before you pull out the email and start to send me a message about my support of violence against “Christians,” I should note that I do not believe in violence of any sort – but while you are getting riled up about the potential for violence against “Christians” and thinking you must intervene, ask yourself this question:
How many gay people have murdered Christians just for being Christian?
Now ask yourself this one:
How many “Christians” have murdered gay people just for being gay?
So before anyone else preaches at the gay community for their violent behavior, let’s remember who instigated the violence in the first place.
I’m currently working on a story regarding gay and lesbian people in the military. If you are a gay or lesbian person currently serving in the U.S. Military under the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (“DADT”) policy, I would love to talk with you. I can be contacted using the contact form on this site or by a friend request on yahoo- user id is jaysaysdotcom. Please state in your message that you are contacting me regarding DADT.
I’m also interested in speaking with heterosexuals in the U.S. military regarding their opinions and views of DADT. Should you choose, your personal information will remain completely confidential.
On another note, I also encourage you to report LGBT discrimination to jaysays.com and let me investigate the claims and demand answers.
Murmurs of an ancestry.com boycott have been breezing through the LGBT blogosphere and community since late last week when an ancestry.com user, James Helms, attempted to add his same-sex partner, Devon, to his family tree using the online version of ancestry.com’s Family Tree Maker. After unsuccessfully attempting to add Devon to his family tree without labeling Devon as his “wife”, James emailed ancestry.com’s member support department. The response from Spencer at Member Services added fuel to the already raging fire in the LGBT community:
Please note that same-gender relationships are unable to be entered in our genealogy software (either the Online Family Tree of [sic] the Ancestry Family Tree). This is because genealogy trees are intended to trace biological relationships or bloodlines. As two persons of the same gender are unable to have biological children, they cannot be entered as spouses or partners.
James later posted the text of the emails on the forum at gaywallet.com and the blogosphere responded noting, accurately, that adoptive children are not biological relatives and can be added to the family tree and spouses with no children can be added in spite of a lack of biological relationships.
Tim Sullivan, CEO of The Generations Network (the parent company of ancestry.com) stepped forward in a telephone conference with jaysays.com to clarify the company’s position on representing same-sex relationships in the family unit. When asked whether the company intends to release an update to ancestry.com so that same-sex relationships can be recognized, Mr. Sullivan stated,
Our desktop software application called Family Tree Maker, which [in addition] to ancestry is one of our key businesses, is built in a way that permits this, and we’ve recognized for some time that we absolutely want the service to reflect how anyone defines spousal relationship or how anyone defines a family.
He added that they expect ancestry.com to support same-gender relationships and all family stories by the end of the first quarter of 2009.
Mr. Sullivan acknowledged that there has been a healthy debate within the genealogical community as to whether a family tree should be representative of the biological lineage of a family, or the family’s story and attributed the response from member support to this debate. He further stated that ancestry.com is attempting to “evolve” their service to allow people to build their family story online.
Mr. Sullivan wanted the record to be clear with respect to the ownership of ancestry.com,
We [The Generations Network] have absolutely no ownership affiliation with the LDS Church. We have a very diverse management team. We are owned primarily by a private equity investment group in the bay area called Spectrum Equity Investors and they, sort of partnering with the management team about a year ago, did a buy-out of the company.
He went on to state,
[This company and I] are absolutely committed, absolutely committed, to having our service be a welcoming and appropriate venue for anyone to define their family the way they choose to define it without bias. I would view any call to boycott ancestry as based in misunderstanding, miscommunication and misinformation. And we are absolutely committed to supporting same-gender relationships full stop, period.
The San Francisco Chronicle has provided a searchable database of all contributors to the Proposition 8 campaign. A search of the top executives for The Generations Network revealed that no executive individually made contributions to the Yes on 8 Campaign.
Author’s Note and Commentary:
There are many lessons to be learned from the call to arms against ancestry.com. The most pressing of which is that Customer Service Representative’s personal ideology and not necessarily corporate policy may influence their response to questions involving the LGBT community. Like most, I was infuriated by the response from the member services department and was ready with my figurative pen to fight the battle for equal recognition. I almost allowed my fury to negate my reason.
In doing research for this story, I expected that I would be writing a piece about the evil corporation who defines the family unit as a biological unit with no consideration for same-gender relationships. I expected another notch to be placed in the column for “hate institution.” Instead, I found a company that is evolving in such a way that we can all share our family story.