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Archive for December, 2009

A Republican Gay Club, the Illinois Senate Race and Andy Martin

December 29, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Commentary, Featured, Thought of the Gay

After launching a smear ad against his opponent, Mark Kirk, Illinois Republican Senatorial candidate, Andy Martin, claimed that homosexuality isn’t the issue.  However, the non-issue of homosexuality was the primary focus of the ad released by the Martin campaign. Here’s a transcript:

I’m Andy Martin, Republican candidate for United States Senator. I approved this message because Illinois Republicans deserve the truth about their candidates.

I have over forty years of experience and integrity fighting corruption, and fighting for the truth in politics.

I helped expose many of Barack Obama’s lies in 2008.

Today, I am fighting for the facts about Mark Kirk. Illinois Republican leader Jack Roeser says there is a, “solid rumor that Kirk is a homosexual.”  Roeser suggests that Kirk is part of a Republican Party homosexual club. Lake County Illinois Republican leader Ray True says Kirk has surrounded himself with homosexuals.

Mark Kirk should tell Republican voters the truth.

I’m Andy Martin a Republican you can trust for U.S. Senator.

Please vote for Andy Martin.

Paid for by Illinois Republicans for Andy Martin. [Emphasis added]

Both Martin and Kirk are running as Republicans.  It’s assumed that the Republican Party homosexual club which Martin referred to in the ad is the “Log Cabin Republicans.”  That is, of course, assuming there isn’t an R-Street similar to the conservative Christian group, C-Street which no-one told us about.

Martin is no stranger to bigotry and idiotic commentary. In 1983 he referred to a Bankruptcy Judge as a “crooked, slimy Jew who has a history of lying and thieving common to members of his race.” He is also largely credited as the driving force behind cyber-whispers indicating that Obama is a Muslim, and more recently he asserted, without any supporting facts, that Obama trained to overthrow the U.S. Government.  Bigotry is no stranger to this guy.

Man Pays Prostitute to “Fix” his Gay Son… allegedly

December 23, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Featured, LGBT News, Youth Issues

Cure A Queer - Warning SignHow deep does homophobia have to go before society, at large, admits that it is a serious problem?  Police in Queensland, Australia are investigating a man who allegedly paid a prostitute to rape his 15 year old son because he thought his son was homosexual.  According to reports, the man took the boy to a motel, gave a female prostitute $50.0o and told his son that he wanted to see a used condom to evidence that he was getting what he was paying for.

But for the father allegedly making yet another brilliant parenting decision, the incident would have remained unreported.  Police were tipped off about the rape when the father called the Child Protection Investigation Unit to inquire as to why they hadn’t investigated his son for “abusing” his younger brother,  After he inquired, he advised the the officer that he had attempted to fix the problem himself by taking the boy to a prostitute.

Rockhampton Magistrates Court’s investigation determined that enough evidence existed to substantiate the allegations against the father to send him to trial for the rape of his son.

Evangelical Church Moves to be Accepting of Gay Parishoners

December 22, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Commentary, Featured, Religion

Rainbow Jesus - Are Evangelicals changing their minds?Although it is unlikely that the mainstream Assembly of God church will change their view that LGBT people are damned to hell and therefore, not worthy of civil equality (let’s face it, that’s the argument, plan and simple), one church, the Highland Assembly of God near Denver, CO, has opened its doors to openly gay and lesbian attendees.  But when Pastor Mark Tidd proclaimed the evangelical church a welcoming place, he lost more than just a few members of the church.

But Tidd isn’t phased by the protests from the mainstream Assembly of God church against his inclusive ideas, he states:

Our position is not one of lenience, but a matter of justice.

And therein, Tidd responds to the actuality of the gay debate in the United States.  Religion is imposing its ideology on the meek – but it should be a matter of justice.  Does Pastor Tidd’s movement indicate that the church may start recognizing the difference between social justice and persecution in the name of religion — or is their little hope that mainstream evangelicals will ever see the light?

Unfortunately, because evangelical history, at least in the United States, sends mixed messages, those questions can’t easily be answered.  Although the evangelical churches for the most part no longer preach that blacks are soulless and cursed by Ham as they once did, they still preach that a woman should serve man.  In some cases, extending those teachings further to prohibit women from wearing jeans or cutting her hair.

Perhaps what we will see is a slow migration in the evangelical church, as with that of women’s rights, where evangelicals will no longer seek to impose legislation restricting women from wearing jeans or cutting their hair and recognize such laws as strictly religious, not civil.

As the bumper sticker on the minivan in front of me this morning read: “Want to live in a country rule by religion? Move to Iran.

eMarriage License Proposal Could Change Geography of Same-Sex Marriage

December 14, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Featured, LGBT News, Marriage Equality

emarriageAdam Candeub and Mae Kuykendall are law professors at Michigan State University in Lansing.  The two have been researching an interesting new way for states to issue marriage license.  They’ve proposed that states allow people to apply for marriage licenses online, dubbing the proposal “eMarriage.”  Candeub told NPR:

What we’re arguing for is that states should formalize in their laws what they’ve always been doing in smaller degrees in specific areas, which is, allow people outside their states to use their laws.

The proposal would allow couples in any state the ability to go online and download their new marriage license from a state which recognizes same-sex marriage and prevent the unnecessary costs and expenses associated with same-sex marriage tourism.  In that, lies the problem for Christopher Diebel, founder of MyIowaGayWedding.com, and others using same-sex marriage laws in their states to corner the market. According to Mr. Diebel:

Those of us that are involved in that industry are certainly going to want to protect our investments and the business that comes to our state.  And frankly, we would all believe that our state deserves to have that income brought into it for being at the forefront of this fight and leading the way.

Same-sex marriage advocates have often invoked the argument at the state level that recognition of such marriages would result in a “tourism” market and bring additional income to the area.  The proposal by Candeub and Kuykendall, if successful, would effectively make the argument moot; however, the debate of the issue certainly lends credibility to the argument that same-sex marriage is a money maker for states.

The proposal is still being tweaked; however, according to Candeub and Kuykendall, it is gaining momentum.  The duo are prepared to advise any legislator about the process in an effort to “extract their state from the culture wars of same-sex marriage.”

Stupid Things People Say About Gays – Transgender People are Deluded and Don’t Exist

December 11, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Featured, Stupid Things People Say About Gays

Stupid Things People Say About GaysFor those that may not be familiar with Bilerico.com, essentially, it is an LGBT blog community which reports on issues relevant to our community.  The Bilerico Project has over 80 contributors/editors and alumni including some of the most respected names in the LGBT rights movement like, Donna Rose, Jillian T. Wise, David Badash, Joe Solomenese, Kip Williams, Kate Clinton and many, many more. Their list includes the L, the G, the B and the T and reads as a who’s who in the equality movement.  Many authors there are my friends, many have been guests on Closet Talk and I always value their opinions and ideas.

But being friends, colleagues, guests or on a “who’s who” list doesn’t make Bilerico right when it comes to a recent post by contributor, Ronald Gold.  I can certainly understand publishing a piece that turns out to have a factual inaccuracy or even one that expresses an unpopular opinion. However, Ronald Gold may have expressed the least informed, most unfounded opinion ever published in an LGBT forum by a supposed advocate for equality.

In the article recently published, Mr. Gold makes the claim that gender is solely biological, then leaps to the conclusion that such fact evidences that “transgender” does not exist. As if this ill-advised conclusion isn’t dangerous enough, Mr. Gold continues:

I would, however, get after the doctors – the psychiatrists who use a phony medical model to invent a disease that doesn’t exist, and the surgeons who use such spurious diagnoses to mutilate the bodies of the deluded.

Did you catch that?  Mr. Gold just stated that transgender people are “deluded” in a forum designed to support LGBT people.  Did the world go amiss or was bilerico.com not getting enough traffic to substantiate the cost of advertising on the site?

Unfortunately for Mr. Gold and the Bilerico Project, such marketing ploy (if it is one) or such ignorance (which it more likely is) reflects not only on Mr. Gold, but the entire Bilerico Project and its contributors.  Obviously, Donna Rose would disagree with Mr. Gold’s position as well as many other contributors, but rather than publish an apology, the editorial staff at Bilerico Project chose instead to post the following editor’s note at the beginning of the post (several hours after its publication):

All posts published on Bilerico Project do not reflect the opinions of nor any endorsement by the Editorial Team. Many Bilerico readers and contributors have found Ronald Gold’s op-ed offensive or needlessly coarse. The idea behind Bilerico Project is to encourage dialogue among different facets of the LGBT community that might normally never interact this intimately. We encourage all readers to continue responding to Mr. Gold in the same spirit his post was written – with positive intent while bluntly stating your own opinion and experiences.

While I’m ordinarily quick to defend fellow equality fighters, I would have hoped that the editorial staff would have recognized hate speech and chosen not to publish the article.  In no way was this article written with “positive intent.”  I have to say I’m very disappointed with the Bilerico Project for helping propogate lies and misinformation about transgender people – even if it was just a publicity stunt.

Now you get my editor’s note for this post.  The column, Stupid Things People Say About Gays (of which this post is part of) uses the term “Gay” inclusively.  It’s always been so and will always be so.  jaysays.com and all of its contributors strive to be fully inclusive and leave no freak behind.  More Stupid Things People Say About Gays can be found here.

Stupid Things People Say About Gays: Standing up for Your Rights is Terrorism

December 10, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Featured, Stupid Things People Say About Gays

Stupid Things People Say About GaysAccording to recent news reports, Tarlach MacNiallais, 47, a prominent LGBT activist was tackled and beaten by a bouncer at the Guadalajara De Noche restaurant in Jackson Heights, New York.  According to reports, MacNiallais was beaten because he was dancing with a man.

MacNiallais has indicated that the bouncers approached him during the dance and advised him that he could not “do that here,” because, the Guadalajara De Noche restaurant, “is not a gay bar.”

The attack ensued when MacNiallais retorted, “I have just as much right as anyone else.” The bouncer tackled MacNiallais and even hit him with a chair – a response that seems appropriate for the crime of dancing with someone of the same sex [insert sarcasm here].

Perhaps even more disgustingly, according to one comment left on the New York Posts website:

He’s stupid not to listen to the bouncers, he probably threw a hissy fit and prob make some terrorist threats. – alltechneeds

Generally, the term “hissy fit” is reserved for an adult that has displayed diva-like or high-strung behavior.  The commenter made that conclusion based upon MacNiallais’ response that he has a right to dance with someone as much as anyone else.

But here’s the first problem; had MacNaillais been dancing with someone of the opposite-sex, the confrontation would not have occurred at all.  For the sake of argument, however, let’s assume that he had been dancing with someone of the opposite-sex and been approached by a bouncer.  The bouncer then advised MacNaillais that he couldn’t do that in the establishment because it’s not a “straight bar.”  Continuing for the sake of argument, let’s assume that MacNaillais then said to the bouncer, “I have as much right as anyone else.”  Would it be logical for the bouncer to beat Macnaillais for his “hissy fit?”  Of course not!

Then we get to the lowest of the low.  Our commenter equated asserting one’s civil rights in the United States of America with a terror threat.  This is what’s gone wrong with the right.  They have barred logic and reason, ignored the Constitution and now go as far as asserting that exercising one’s civil rights is a terroristic threat.

Perhaps that’s why so many on the right are jumping ship as reported by our friend over at The New Civil Rights Movement – because the right is wrong.

NOTE: For more of the column, Stupid Things People Say About Gays, click here.

ARE YOU SPEAKING? Information on How to Speak Out.

December 07, 2009 By: geekgirl Category: Featured, LGBT Action Alerts

congressLady Gaga asked President Obama at the National Equality March “ARE YOU LISTENING?”

I ask you. “ARE YOU SPEAKING?”

Today the Examiner reported that Reps. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Jared Polis (D-CO)

….said the House is set to pass bills to provide health coverage for the same-sex partners of gay federal workers and to protect all gay and transgender employees from job discrimination. They said they expect a domestic partner benefits bill to come up for a vote by the end of the year and the employment bill to reach the floor early in 2010.

Baldwin and Polis said they are also confident that the House will include a provision in the military spending bill to repeal the Clinton-era “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, which prohibits LGBT people  from serving in the U.S. military.

Both Baldwin and Polis go on to say that President Obama strongly supports all three of these bills. They make the point that Congress must be persuaded and that it is our job to lobby Congress, not just the President. While there is debate about what President Obama could or could not do regarding DADT, one fact remains certain.  We have more work to do. Whether we want to do it or not.

The LGBT community donated a lot of money to Obama; many campaigned for Obama. We’ve had this mentality that we voted for him, he won, now it will just happen. It didn’t happen. Now people are mad and I understand why. I’ve read statements that we shouldn’t have to fight for equality. It’s true, we shouldn’t, but the reality is that “Plan A” has not been working so well. We can’t continue to just talk to ourselves. We can’t continue to be outraged only when a law is defeated or repealed. We can’t sit back, thinking that our donations to activist groups will take care of this for us.

We must be proactive.

Stop for just one minute and really think about this: a candidate campaigns on many issues, people vote. When that candidate wins, does she or he know what issues matter the most to which people? You might say, “They should know by polls.”  While that sounds logical, a poll does not tell your legislator how strongly you feel about an issue. It is naive to assume that votes and money alone are what persuades the way a representative will vote.

We just watched the New York Senate vote against same sex marriage. If you haven’t read the story of why Sen. Joseph Addabbo voted no, then you need to. As reported Rod on rod 2.0 beta

“I felt that I would get a clear indication of where my district stands on this issue,” said Addabbo, who said that he received more than 400 communications from constituents, 74% of whom opposed marriage equality.

Whether or not Addabbo is using this statistic to justify his vote or as a smokescreen, is unknown. But it led me to research the idea of how to persuade Legislators. In the fight for equality for LGBT people, we must convince legislators to pass laws.

So what do we do?

We must lobby Congress and we must do it now. The best time to lobby is when new legislation is being considered.  We must continue the purpose of the National Equality March. October 11th was the start of a long term commitment to equality, not a one day event. We must start a grass roots campaign of phone calls, emails, letters to the editors. We must encourage very blogger, every LGBT group, every straight ally to raise their voice. We must fund people to set up meetings with their Congresspersons. Face to face, in their offices.

I’ve looked at websites of organizations that lobby Congress and pulled together suggestions. They made sense to me. Perhaps they will make sense to you. If you have other suggestions, please leave a comment. Do Senators and Congresspersons listen to their constituents? You bet they do. But they are bombarded with communications. Be brief, specific and knowledgeable. Tell them what action you want them to take. The best time to communicate with them is when legislation is about to be presented or is on the floor.

From OpenLeft.Com

There are significantly more phone calls from conservatives than from progressives on virtually every issue. Oh wait–it isn’t difficult to fathom why constituent phone calls play a role in congressional decision making. Conservative media outlets and advocacy groups completely dominate progressives when it comes to mobilizing on phone calls. The examples of the public option and cap and trade are just two examples, but across all issue areas conservative domination on constituent phone calls is a general rule.

What can we draw from this statement? Learn tactics that work. We have all seen poll numbers on issues where the American public will have an overwhelming majority opinion on a topic, yet Congress votes the other way. Why? Because if you aren’t speaking, they will assume the issue is not important to you.

How to contact your legislators.

USA.gov can point you to your Senators and Congressperson, and how to contact them.

How to find impending legislation

The Thomas Legislative System

Does your vote matter to that legislator?

It is usually best to send letters to the representative from your local Congressional District or the senators from your state. Your vote helps elect them — or not — and that fact alone carries a lot of weight. It also helps personalize your letter. Sending the same “cookie-cutter” message to every member of Congress may grab attention but rarely much consideration.

Telephone Calls

Be specific, brief  and courteous.  If you are comfortable giving out personal information, that will add to the legitimacy of your call. If you are contacting your representative, be sure to let them know that you live in their district or state. The same logic applies to a telephone call as with a letter; check out the suggestions under writing a letter.

If a real person answers the phone, and they do, ask them to please WRITE DOWN your message. Ask for their name. Follow up your telephone call with an email, thanking “Mary Jones” for taking the time to write down your message.

Hello. My name is Jane Smith and I live in Topeka, Kansas. I am calling to ask you to support H.R. 3017 Employment Non-Discrimination Act. In this economy, no one should have to worry about being fired for their sexual orientation or gender identity. Please encourage Chairman Miller to bring this to the Senate floor quickly.

Writing a letter or an email? Keep it Simple

A personal letter shows you are sincerely interested. Use your own words, not a cookie-cutter letter. Email is also effective, but again write the email in your own words. Your letter should address a single topic or issue. Since all mail is screened due to security reasons, some legislators actively encourage email as a way of reaching them.

Typed, one-page letters are best. Write on personal letterhead (if you have it) and be sure to sign your name if the letter is typed. Put your return address on your letter. Envelopes get thrown away.

Many Political Action Committees recommend a three-paragraph letter structured like this:

  1. Say why you are writing and who you are. Be sure to let them know if you are in their district. Provide your name and address so they will take you seriously. If you want a response, you must include your name and address, even when using email. List your “credentials.”  Do you belong to an activist organization? Are you a physician, lawyer, clergy, parent, human resource director, teacher? Use your occupation or activism to lend credibility to your position.
  2. Provide more detail. Be factual not emotional. Provide specific rather than general information about how the topic affects you and others. If a certain bill is involved, cite the correct title and number whenever possible.
  3. Close by requesting the action you want taken: a vote for or against a bill, or change in general policy.

The best letters are courteous, to the point, and include specific supporting examples.

Addressing Members of Congress

To Your Senator:

The Honorable (full name)
(Room #) (Name) Senate Office Building
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator:

To Your Representative:

The Honorable (full name)
(Room #) (Name) House Office Building
United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Representative:

To Conclude

Here are some key things you should always and never do in writing to your elected representatives.

  1. Be courteous and respectful without “gushing.”
  2. Clearly and simply state the purpose of your letter. If it’s about a certain bill, identify it correctly. If you need help in finding the number of a bill, use the Thomas Legislative Information System.
  3. Say who you are. Anonymous letters go nowhere. Even in email, include your correct name, address, phone number and email address. If you don’t include at least your name and address, you will not get a response.
  4. State any professional credentials or personal experience you may have, especially those pertaining to the subject of your letter.
  5. Keep your letter short — one page is best.
  6. Use specific examples or evidence to support your position.
  7. State what it is you want done or recommend a course of action.
  8. Thank the member for taking the time to read your letter.

Never

  1. Use vulgarity, profanity, or threats. The first two are just plain rude and the third one can get you a visit from the Secret Service. Simply stated, don’t let your passion get in the way of making your point,
  2. Fail to include your name and address, even in email letters.
  3. Demand a response.

Petitions.

Petitions are not as effective, especially cookie cutter petitions. At least that is what I have read. I don’t know that they hurt. I think the message here is that when you take the time to contact your legislator directly, they know you really mean it. It is your voice and you feel strongly about an issue. Think about what persuades you more.

For your legislators to represent you, you have to tell them what you want and what will make you vote for them.  The squeaky wheel can get the grease.

Last, but not least – some current legislation before Congress relevant to the LGBT Community

H.R. 3017 Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

H.R. 1283 Repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

H.R. 2132 Family Medical Leave Act, amend to include same sex couples and other family members.

H.R. 3001 Ending LGBT Health Disparities Bill, including eliminating the taxation of medical benefits.

H.R. 2517 (also S.1102) Benefits for Domestic Partners of Federal Employees.

jaysays.com contributor geekgirlgeekgirl: Jude is a straight woman, a mom and has been married for 32 years to the same wonderful man. She believes in Buddhism and attends the United Church of Christ. She is a molecular biologist, her best friend is a lesbian, and she believes that every human deserves equal rights, respect and a life free from hate, fear and discrimination. The only thing she hates is pickles. Her science blog can be found at LGBT Latest Science.

ENDA: Call to Action NOW

December 06, 2009 By: geekgirl Category: Featured, LGBT Action Alerts

eeocIn 29 states, it’s still legal to fire someone because they’re LGBT; in 38 states it is legal to fire someone for being transgender. ENDA will make it illegal to fire a person based on their sexual orientation or genetic identity (as usual, some restrictions apply). Here is a  Summary of legislation and cosponsors.

ENDA, the Employment Non Discrimination Act, has been delayed by House Committee Chairman Gordon Miller. It is important to take action on this bill immediately. It is so close to passing and will take so little to make it pass.

We recommend that you focus your energy on committee members who can stop the delay.
If you do not know the phone number of a Congressperson, call (202) 224-3121 to reach the main switchboard.
Contact the following Congresspersons as they are believed to have the most influence in moving ENDA forward.

  • House Committee Chairman Gordon Miller 202-225-2095
  • Rep. Lynn Woolsey, CA 202-225-0855
  • Rep. Jared Polis, CO 202-225-2161
  • Rep. Robert Andrews, NJ 202-225-6501
  • Rep. Rush Holt, NJ 202-225-5801
  • Rep. Yvette Clark, NY (use House switchboard number)

What to say? They will ask you if you live in their district. Tell them that you are requesting that bill H.R. 3017 is delayed and you know the representative is on the Committee. Tell them you would like the bill to not be delayed. Be specific, know the bill number and name, be brief and polite.

It doesn’t matter if you are in their district. As committee members, they represent all Americans and have the power to push for ENDA.

The delay was prompted by the desire to do some minor tweaking in the bill. In a conference call today led by Dr. Jillian Weiss, who posts at the Bilerico Project and is a law professor, she said these tweaks are very minor. We cannot delay ENDA. A delay means that it will be bumped behind other legislation.  Worse, as mid-term elections come closer, some members may be afraid to vote for this measure.

This delay can be avoided if three committee members ask that the bill not be delayed.

It won’t hurt to contact other committee members and sponsors of the bill. This bill has 192 sponsors, which is a lot of sponsors, and has 222 House members on board, with another possible 30. It takes only 218 to pass the House. In the Senate, 56 Senators are on board with another possible 9 senators. This legislation can pass. But it has to stop going to the back of the line. The subcommittee members are:

Democrats (13) Republicans (8)
Robert Andrews, NJ Chairman Tom Price, Ranking Member
David Wu, OR (202) 225-0855 John Kline
Phil Hare  25 Howard P. “Buck” McKeon
John F. Tierney MA (202) 225-8020 (978) 531-1669 Peabody Office Joe Wilson
Dennis J. Kucinich OH 202) 225-5871 Brett Guthrie
Marcia Fudge Tom McClintock
Dale E. Kildee Duncan D. Hunter
Carolyn McCarthy David P. Roe
Rush Holt NJ
Joe Sestak
David Loebsack
Yvette Clarke
Joe Courtney

You can also call one of the main sponsors of the bill, Tammy Baldwin, WI (202) 225-2906

People lose their jobs every day.  Full equality now. Not tomorrow. Not some time next year. Not when it is convenient. Do it now.

jaysays.com contributor geekgirlgeekgirl: Jude is a straight woman, a mom and has been married for 32 years to the same wonderful man. She believes in Buddhism and attends the United Church of Christ. She is a molecular biologist, her best friend is a lesbian, and she believes that every human deserves equal rights, respect and a life free from hate, fear and discrimination. The only thing she hates is pickles. Her science blog can be found at LGBT Latest Science.

Is Any Publicity Really Good Publicity? Adam Lambert v. Uganda

December 04, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Discrimination, Featured, LGBT News

UgandaLambertAfter Adam Lambert’s performance on the American Music Awards resulted in people screaming about gay kisses all over the Internet and thousands of calls complaining to the network, ABC canceled two scheduled appearances by the performer. Since then, activists far and wide have called out ABC for its discrimination against Lambert. Then the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (“GLAAD”) stepped in.

At first, ABC remained mum on why Adam’s appearances were canceled, but after questions became louder, they responded that Adam wasn’t axed because of his sexual orientation, but because he can’t stick to a script.

GLAAD quickly agreed and issued a statement in defense of ABC stating that ABC has shown same-sex kisses in the past and does not discriminate against gays. The result is music to Adam Lambert’s publicist’s ear, but poison to this activist.

The story of Adam Lambert’s kiss has reached major networks, blogs and radio. Debates all over the internet show the fury of the LGBT community and their heterosexual allies over the issue, but what we aren’t talking about is Uganda.

Uganda is slated to vote on an anti-homosexuality bill. The bill would allow for punishment of homosexual acts with life in prison, but doesn’t stop there. If you are a repeat offender or HIV+ the sentence is death.  That means if Adam Lambert performed in Uganda as he did on the American Music Awards, he would not be banned from network T.V., he’d be thrown in prison for the rest of his life.  Should he be charged for repeated offenses, they will kill him.

But what is worse than the thought of Adam Lambert being put to death?  The US Christian group, The Family (aka the “Fellowship”), a fundamentalist organization which is believed to house many US Representatives, used its influence to bring about this bill.  According to Alternet:

The roster of current and former Family members includes senators, congressmen, Fortune 500 CEOs, generals and at least one Supreme Court justice. The Family does not publish membership lists, and its members are sworn to secrecy, so a full accounting is impossible.

Sen. Hillary Clinton has been involved with the Family since 1993 when, as first lady, she joined a White House prayer circle for political wives. Clinton has also sought spiritual counseling from the current head of the Family, Doug Coe.

The Family’s influence in U.S. Politics is strong.  So strong, in fact, that the religious majority continues to vote on the rights of minorities even in the Land of the Freedom of Religion.  If they succeed in Uganda in bringing the murder of homosexuals into law, what will stop them in the U.S.?  We already know by way of California’s Proposition 8 that human rights can be voted away, but where do we draw the line?

And that brings us back to Adam Lambert and GLAAD.  Is this story “good publicity” when it distracts us from the potential government sanctioned murders of our LGBT brothers and sisters in Uganda? Definitely not.

the Fellowship and the International Foundation

There was a Time when Jesus Tried to Kill Me

December 03, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Commentary, Religion

Little Ole MeI first started begging for death at 14 years old.  Oddly, the same thing that led me down the path to pleading for death was the very thing that saved my life – religion.  I knew what was considered a “sin” by the church (which in my family amounted to anything other than being miserable): no shorts for men, no haircuts for women, no playing cards, no alcohol, no cigarettes, no sex until marriage, no jewelry other than a wedding ring, no cussing, no taking of one’s own life (or the lives of others) and don’t forget to say your prayers.  It seemed there were so many things I wasn’t allowed to do without being damned for all eternity.  But there was one thing no one told me – homosexuality is a sin.  This oversight was likely due to the fact that sex was never mentioned in church or otherwise.

I knew though, from society, that being a queer or a sissy was bad.  That fact was echoed every time my older brother’s friends decided they wanted to play a game of “Smear the Queer,” which translated into, “Beat the hell out of Jay.”  It’s important to note that I was not taught religion at a church so much as I was taught religion from my family.  On visits to my evangelical family, church was always on the agenda.  I did embrace the Bible (KJV), Jesus, God and even angels.  I had convinced myself that I had a set of guardians (the angelic ones) watching out for me and no matter what happened, no harm would come of me.  I prayed several times a day, faithfully studied Bible text and occasionally put a televangelist on the TV to listen to the gospel [music that is].

That’s how it happened.  I was flipping channels and stopped on a televangelist.  The music was the first thing to catch my attention, then the preacher began to speak, “Man shall not lie with man as he does a woman, the Bible says it, folks.”  His words were followed by a splash screen reading: LEV. 18:22.  I ran to my bedroom and grabbed my blue bound Bible with my name in silver letters embossed on the cover, a gift from my aunt.  It took seconds for me to find Lev. 18:22 and read the text:

Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.

I didn’t bother reading 18:21 or 18:23.  I stood there in shock.  I had been trained that preachers don’t lie, that the Bible was the inerrant word of God and every detail of it should be followed letter by letter.

I spent the next several days tormenting myself over that quote.  Al Gore hadn’t invented the Internet yet and asking someone about it would be like telling them that I’m a queer.  It was better not to speak of these things and pray away the sin.

But it wasn’t working.  I found my thoughts drifting to a day when I would find my knight in shining armor waiting to take me away and live happily ever after, then switching to darker thoughts and debates about to kill myself with pills or by slicing my wrists.  As days turned into months, the thoughts grew more frequent.  Between daydreaming about my future lover and wondering which method of death would be the simplest, there was no room for other adolescent tasks.  I became increasingly withdrawn until finally, I was near anti-social.  I decided at that point that I had to make a firm decision and stick to it.  My options were: (1) live a life of sin; or (2) kill myself.  But suicide, as mentioned above, was a sin. Regardless of which option I chose, I was doomed to an eternity of hell.

Eventually, I was able to rationalize my doom.  If I chose to kill myself, my eternity in hell would start immediately; however, if I choose to live a life of sin, I could buy myself some time on earth and have a little fun in the process.  You would think at this point that morality would become moot.  If I was going to hell, I might as well lie, cheat, steal and even kill.  But that’s not the way it happened.  In spite of being banished from heaven, I’ve yet to commit any of the major no-no’s.

As I questioned religion, God, Jesus, the Bible and all that I’d been taught, I began educating myself on other religions, other cultures and other beliefs.  I had come out of the closet and was no longer afraid to ask questions.  I asked questions like, “What does your religion say about homosexuals?”  I sought out a religion that agreed with my idea of morality, life and harmony – one where cutting your hair, wearing make up or playing cards was perfectly sinless and considered micromanaging.

Finding a religion that matched my beliefs turned out to be impossible.  While the Wiccan principle of “harm none” was perfect, I found the sacred elements and invocations exhausting and a bit to “Dungeons and Dragons” for my taste.  I really liked bacon at this stage in my life, so becoming Jewish wasn’t an option.  I’d been taught that being Catholic was the worst sin possible and I was too upset with Siddhartha Gautama’s abandonment of his pregnant wife to even consider being a Buddhist! Hinduism was far to exotic to be considered and becoming Muslim seemed like way too much prayer time.

Eventually, my quest for the perfect religion ended when I realized that I was simply regurgitating information being provided to me by leaders of varying faiths, rather than actually believing in any of it.  In fact, I never did believe in any of it – I was just taught it, like being taught to speak.

Religion is a lot like language in that respect.  Depending on who teaches you or where you are, you could speak English, Hebrew, Greek, Spanish or any multitude of differing languages and dialects.  I could have a “southern” accent or a mid-western one – it just depends upon how I was taught.  How is that different from being taught religion?  It’s not.  Religion is as created as language and only has the power and meaning assigned to it from teacher to pupil.  I do not believe that religion is untrue or false any more so than I believe language is untrue or false.  Some accents appeal to us, some do not.  Some religions are appealing, some are not.  The good news is that with enough therapy you can change an accent – or your religion.  One thing that I can’t change is my love for the man I’m lucky enough to have in my life who, unlike religion, has never meant me harm.

Many years have now past since that scared and suicidal queer kid was dismissed from my life.  I’ve since realized that although religion may have saved my life, it first tried to kill me.  I can’t imagine forgiving someone who stabbed me multiple times then sewed up the wounds, so why would I forgive religion for the damage it did to me?  Each time I hear the right wing call out that they are protecting “our children,”  I think of myself as a child and what might have been had I only been able to choose between pills and slit wrists.  I will no longer allow your God to be my burden.