Watch the whole thing. Just do it. 

(via gaychristian)

In the Lancashire Telegraph [Straw] writes: “ A central principle common to all world religions is the idea that we should behave towards others in the way in which we would expect others to behave towards us. Christ devotes much of his teaching to this theme, building on the Old Testament injunction that we should love our neighbours as we love ourselves.”

“’Judge not, that ye be not judged’, and ‘Do to others as you would have them do to you’, are two of his most powerful, and enduring, messages about how individuals, local communities, and whole societies, should live peacefully, and happily, with others.”…

He writes: “I happen to be, in the modern jargon, ‘straight’. It doesn’t make me a better person.

“I didn’t choose to be straight. It’s how I am. It would be no different if I were gay. I would neither be a better, nor a worse, person because of it. It would simply be how I was…

“I know of no-one who is married who feels threatened by the idea that another couple, same sex, wishes to cement their love for each other by marrying.

“Why should this not be a matter of celebration, rather than of prohibition?”

He ends asking: “How on earth do these church leaders square their present stand with those biblical injunctions about treating others as you would expect to be treated yourself?”

The gay and lesbian community of Minnesota has issued a letter of apology to recently resigned Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch for ruining the institution of marriage and causing her to stray from her husband and engage in an “inappropriate relationship.”

"On behalf of all gays and lesbians living in Minnesota, I would like to wholeheartedly apologize for our community’s successful efforts to threaten your traditional marriage," reads the letter from John Medeiros. "We apologize that our selfish requests to marry those we love has cheapened and degraded traditional marriage so much that we caused you to stray from your own holy union for something more cheap and tawdry."

Why do I oppose writing discrimination into the NC state constitution?  For me as a Christian minister, my faith compels me to oppose discrimination in all its forms and particularly in the form we see expressed in the proposed constitutional amendment.  My faith compels me for two reasons: first because this amendment imposes one group of churches’ interpretation of Christianity upon all North Carolinians and my faith teaches me that the state imposing a particular denominations’ view on other people corrupts both the church and the state.  Secondly because my faith teaches me that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere…

This amendment promotes one particular, very conservative view of the Christian faith above all others, including many non-Christian faiths and even other Christian denominations.  Many religious groups in American such as the Unitarian Universalist Church do not oppose same-sex relationships and are refused the right to practice their own tenets by the ban on same-gender marriage.   What’s more, many Christian denominations also support GLBT equality, including the Presbyterian Church (U. S. A.), the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, the United Church of Christ, the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches, and my own faith family the Progressive Christian Alliance.   What our state is currently doing by banning gay marriage is imposing the religious views of certain religious denominations on all North Carolinians.  By writing this ban into our constitution, we are writing not just GLBT discrimination but also religious discrimination into our constitution.  We are beginning the slippery slope of imposing a few churches’ view on other people of faith and people outside the faith community.  I think all people of faith, and people of good will, ought to stand together against legislation that write into law impose the beliefs of one religious group upon all people, whether they are religious or not and whether or not those beliefs are a part of their faith.

My faith also compels me to oppose this amendment because my faith teaches me that injustice against any member of the human family is injustice against all.  What happens to my neighbors who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, and qustioning impacts me directly.  This is the message of the Christian faith throughout the ages.  “No man is an island to himself,” said John Donne, Anglican priest and poet.  Baptist preacher and civil rights leader Martin Luther King said “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”  As the prophet Micah who is held in respect by Jews, Christians, and Muslims alike witnessed, these issues of justice for others are at the core of what it means to be a person of faith: “[God] has shown you, O human, what is good.  What does the LORD require of you, but to act justly, To love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?”

The former bishop played a pivotal role in gay rights and the church when he was involved in a heresy trial. After hiring a non-celibate homosexual deacon in 1990, Righter was accused of heresy, or false teaching, by the Episcopal Church.

In 1996, the Church ruled that church doctrine did not explicitly ban the ordination of practicing homosexuals. The victory for Righter also served as a win for gay rights in the Church. It was the first heresy case in the Church since the 1920s.

In 1997, Episcopal Church’s triennial General Convention issued an apology to gays and lesbians for “years of rejection and maltreatment by the church.”

"We want to recast the debate shifting from arguments over origins (is homosexuality ‘in born’ or ‘chosen’?)…In our view, it does not matter how one becomes homosexual, because there is nothing wrong with homosexuality… We believe that the freedom to be different and act differently should not depend on whether or not an individual is ‘born that way."

— Janet R. Jakobsen and Ann Pellegrini, Love the Sin: Sexual Regulation and the Limits of Religious Tolerance

"These examples of connecting, or failing to connect, the dots of oppression help us to understand that the quest for human justice, freedom, and equality cannot be fragmented. The layered complexity of human identity forbids it. To claim that we are for racial equality while ignoring women’s equality, or to insist that we support justice for the poor but disdain justice for LGBT persons, is to engage in a precarious game of self-deception in which the ultimate irony is that we ourselves become the inadvertent objects of our own rejection, self-hatred, and internalized oppression."- Reverend Dennis W. Wiley, Ph.D., pastor of the Covenant Baptist United Church of Christ in Washington, D.C.

Joie de Vivre Thursday.

Gay Pride New York 2008 (by See-ming Lee 李思明 SML)

Joie de Vivre Thursday.


Gay Pride New York 2008 (by See-ming Lee 李思明 SML)

Traditional Marriage

A couple of weeks ago I was listening to a panel on the Dian Rehm show discussing same sex marriage.  One of the panelists, who opposed legal recognition of same sex marriage, explained that those who are in favor of legal same sex marriage tend to frame their arguments in terms of rights while those who are opposed tend to frame it in terms of tradition.  (This guest did not bring the term “Biblical marriage" into his argument.)

It seems that those who hold the “tradition” view believe society bestows an honor on those to whom it grants the status of marriage.  It is a celebration, a recognition and a welcoming of the couple into the larger community.  Some feel that the marriage of same sex couples is not something that society ought to sanction or bless.

What I found most interesting about this guest was that he said that there was nothing stopping gay couples from gathering with their families and holding a ceremony to honor their commitment.  He was not opposed to that, only to the government legally recognizing the marriage.  When it comes to the legal status of marriage he said (I’m paraphrasing a bit because this was a couple of weeks ago) “We have to decide if it is a benefit to society to allow that.”

What is odd about this is that government recognition of marriage is the one part that completely ignores the spiritual, romantic and community aspects of the union.  The government doesn’t care if the couple is serious, or committed or in love, or what their parents think, or if they go to church or wear white or plan to raise a family. The government cares if you filled out the right forms and paid the correct fee. 

Just as the government is not honoring the proud parents when it issues a “certificate of live birth,” the government is not bestowing a blessing with a marriage license.  Governments are not in the blessing business. 

The reason the government provides a legal status of marriage is to make it easier for everyone else.  By granting couples the status of marriage, many legal processes are streamlined.  We do not have to reinvent everything for each couple or each relationship.  We have processes for co-parenting, joint property, divorce, inheritance that, as long as there are not too many complicating factors, simplify things for the rest of us.  We don’t need long explanations of what the intentions of the two parties are because they have defined it using this legal umbrella term of “marriage.”

Not including same sex couples who have similar intentions in our legal category creates a lot of extra headaches, litigation and work for our system.

What is interesting to me about the panelist’s tradition argument is that he believes gay couples should actually be entitled to the blessing, the honor and the welcoming embrace of community.  He would open all of the tradition to them, as he has no problem with them having wedding ceremonies and living as committed couples with all of the community acceptance of their status.

Listing a person of the same sex as spouse on an insurance form, however, seems to be the problem.

The fact of the matter is that “marriage” is not one thing.  There are legal aspects and social aspects to marriage.  Marriage is a property arrangement and can also be a spiritual bond.  Even though we call everyone we’ve given this legal status “married” no two marriages are alike. 

If same sex marriage is not a question of rights, but of tradition, shouldn’t it follow that a person who holds this view would not care one way or another about one’s legal status (render unto Caesar…) but would be opposed to the honor and blessing of a ceremony recognizing the union of the couple?  Is this not where the blessing and tradition lies?