Category Archives: Homosexuality

After trip to Brazil, Pope realizes that gays are people

Pope Bergoglio in RioPope Bergoglio said on Monday something that was completely revolutionary to hear in the year 2013 – that gay people should not be marginalized from society. This came as a shock to nearly everyone.

Bergoglio went on to say that he would not judge gay people, and that he respects their efforts to avoid the sinful, morally wrong way in which they express romantic love for one another.

In his interview, the Pope compared gay lobbies to the “lobbies of greedy people,” and said that such groups were problematic. “We can’t have people working together to effect legislation that would better preserve their rights as human beings,” he said. When asked if he thought it was hypocritical that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops spent $26.67 million on lobbying in 2009, the Pope replied “Uh… no.”

Bergoglio then spoke with reporters about some old issues in the church. “We cannot limit the role of women in the Church to altar girls or the president of a charity, there must be more,” he said. “But of course women can never be priests, because that would just be silly.”

One attendee at the Pope’s rally, Marianna Vericiano, asked reporters, “If the Catholic Church cares about people so much and has so much influence, shouldn’t they use their speaking time to tell people to fight poverty, or adopt clean energy, or use condoms, or fight for women’s education in third world countries? And is the bar really set so low that we cheer whenever the Pope says something marginally positive about gay people?”

No one else at the rally had any idea what she was talking about.

 

Image source: Tânia Rêgo/ABr (Agência Brasil)CC-BY-3.0-br

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Protecting a student’s right to make anti-gay statements

Following up my previous posts on free speech, we have a case involving the ACLU and a student’s right to wear a T-shirt with an anti-gay message.

Anti-rainbow

The front of Seth Groody’s T-shirt.

Wolcott High School in Connecticut designated April 20th a Day of Silence in order to raise awareness of anti-LGBT bullying and harassment. On that same day, junior Seth Groody wore to school a T-shirt depicting a rainbow with a slash through it – an anti-gay statement. School officials forced him to remove the T-shirt.

The ACLU has pointed out that this is unconstitutional, and they’ve asked school officials to guarantee that students’ rights to free speech are not infringed in the future.

“The First Amendment was written to protect unpopular speech, which is naturally the kind of speech that will always need protection,” said Sandra Staub, legal director of the ACLU of Connecticut. “The ACLU has fought hard for same-sex marriage and we couldn’t agree with Seth less on that issue, but he is absolutely correct about his right to express his opinion.

“The impulse to suppress ideas that we find unpleasant is antithetical to freedom and democracy. That’s why the ACLU of Ohio stood up in 2006 for the rights of students to wear T-shirts supporting same-sex marriage and the ACLU of Connecticut must stand up in 2012 for the rights of students to express the opposite sentiment.”

This is the right thing to do. I, too, am vehemently against anti-gay sentiment, but if people are to be free to express good ideas, then they must also be free to express bad.

The only exception I would make is the exception that US case law already makes – if speech becomes so frequent or disruptive that it infringes on the rights of others, then it becomes harassment, and it is no longer protected under the First Amendment. If a great number of students at Wolcott High came to school wearing anti-gay shirts, that would arguably create an oppressive atmosphere towards LGBT students, with negative consequences for their psychological wellbeing. Anti-gay bullying is a big issue in American schools these days, and it isn’t to be taken lightly. However, if only a handful of students are openly expressing anti-gay sentiments, then the answer is for students and teachers who disagree to raise their voices higherand to repudiate the idea that there is something wrong with being attracted to members of the same sex.

(via the Friendly Atheist)

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One step forward…

California’s Proposition 8, a ban on gay marriage, was ruled unconstitutional yesterday. So that’s good news.

Meanwhile, a chilling story from last week reminds how far we still have to go before gays are treated like people in this country. This story about anti-gay bullying occurring in schools in Michele Bachmann’s home district is appalling. Nine teens in the district committed suicide in two years, while most of the adults in their lives did nothing to help them. The anti-gay climate was created and maintained by religious conservatives who, along with Michele Bachmann, think of homosexuality as a form of “sexual dysfunction,” and a moral evil.

Disgusting. Give it a read.

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Why I will not donate to the Salvation Army

I won’t be donating any money to the Salvation Army this year (or any year for the foreseeable future). They are a religious group, with fittingly pernicious and bigoted beliefs. They describe openly on their website how they are against abortion, against homosexuality, against assisted dying, and more. Worse, these are not just the philosophical beliefs of an otherwise charitable organization. The Salvation Army attempts to effect real-world policy based on their religiously-inspired bigotry.

This article by Bil Browning points out just the ways in which the SA has acted (internationally!) to deny gays and lesbians their civil rights. Here’s one example:

Also in 2001, the evangelical charity actively lobbied to change how the Bush administration would distribute over $24 billion in grants and tax deductions by urging the White House deny funding to any cities or states that included LGBT non-discrimination laws. Ari Fleischer, White House press secretary, issued a statement saying the administration was denying a “regulation sought by the church to protect the right of taxpayer-funded religious organizations to discriminate against homosexuals.”

Not only does the Salvation Army lobby against gay rights, but if you donate to them, you’re helping to pay for that lobbying.

And the discrimination doesn’t stop at the level of political action. Even though the Salvation Army states that their services “are available to all who qualify, without regard to sexual orientation,” apparently that isn’t always true. According to Browning, the Salvation Army also discriminates in who they give aid to.

I’ve seen the discrimination the Salvation Army preaches first hand. When a former boyfriend and I were homeless, the Salvation Army insisted we break up before they’d offer assistance. We slept on the street instead and declined to break up as they demanded.

Admittedly, we don’t know how often this sort of thing happens. But the fact that it has happened at all is bad enough.

UPDATE: Here is another first-hand account of SA refusing aid to those who need it – this time on a larger scale.

So I do not plan on putting any money in the Salvation Army’s red kettles. If anyone’s looking for a charity to donate to that doesn’t practice bigotry, Browning provides a list. Phil Plait has also described a few of his favorite charities over at his blog.

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A doozy of an email

UPDATE: Do not fill out the survey yourself. It appears that the actual questions don’t matter, and signing the survey adds one’s name to an anti-gay petition.

________________

I took part in a survey the other day, at the suggestion of PZ Myers. An anti-gay organization called Public Advocate of the United States is asking for people to take their survey and let their views be heard on the “radical homosexual agenda.” Of course, the only views they want to be heard are their own, so as a group of people who really don’t support anti-gay views, PZ’s readers decided to skew the survey a bit in our favor.

The amusing part was what happened after I filled it out. Just this morning, Public Advocate sent me an email, thanking me for my support! Even though all of my responses disagreed with their views! Apparently, Public Advocate didn’t intend for their survey to reach anyone outside their own narrow-minded audience. The only answers they expected to get to their survey were the “right” answers, according to them. What a wonderful way to highlight the self-serving nature of what they’re doing.

And the email they sent really is a doozy. I’ve copied it below, and added in my own comments [gratuitous emphasis theirs].

Dear Tim,

Thank you for your recently signed petition.  I am excited to know you are an American who is willing to take a stand for pro-family values.

Pro-family values? I love family! Who wouldn’t take a stand for that?

Here at Public Advocate, fighting for and defending the family values our nation was founded on is what we are all about.

If you are looking for a hard-hitting pro-family organization with a history of victories against the growing radical Homosexual Lobby, look no further than Public Advocate of the United States.

Say what now?

So… “pro-family” is just a nice-sounding word you use to describe bigotry? Ok, got it.

Founded in 1981, Public Advocate quickly took center stage as the nation’s leading family advocate with over 400,000 united pro-family activists.

Time after time, Public Advocate has beaten back the attempts of the Homosexual Lobby to pass legislation aimed at making homosexuals a special class of citizens.

You mean legislation aimed at giving them the same rights as everyone.

But, victories these days have been harder and harder to come by.

Which is why I so excited to have your signed petition!

It was a survey. And I disagreed with everything on your agenda.

With it, I will prove to Congress that the American people still hold traditional family values dear.

Yes, like the right to persecute those who are different than you. It’s what America was founded on.

And if you believe the threat of the Homosexual Lobby is being blown out of proportion, think again.

At this very moment, individuals and organizations with hundreds of millions of dollars that comprise the Homosexual Lobby are working to pass their radical agenda.

Here are just a few names and organizations you may recognize: Tim Gill, Barney Frank, Pat Stryker, Jared Polis, Cindy and Meghan McCain, The Advocate, GLAAD, and the Human Rights Campaign.

All of these people are working towards what they call “equal rights” for homosexuals, when in reality, the rights they are trying to acquire would be unique to homosexuals only.

Oh, really? I’d like some evidence for that.

A Thought Control bill was just recently passed.  This bill puts into law regulations that deem so-called “hate speech” as illegal.

Uh… no. The Hate Crimes Prevention Act (which is attached to a defense authorization bill)  makes it a federal hate crime to assault someone because of their sexual orientation, gender, or gender identity. It was already a hate crime to assault someone based on race, religion, or national origin. This bill just adds protection for more marginalized groups.

The only thing the bill says about speech is that it is protected:

Nothing in this division, or an amendment made by this division, shall be construed or applied in a manner that infringes any rights under the first amendment to the Constitution of the United States. Nor shall anything in this division, or an amendment made by this division, be construed or applied in a manner that substantially burdens a person’s exercise of religion (regardless of whether compelled by, or central to, a system of religious belief), speech, expression, or association, unless the Government demonstrates that application of the burden to the person is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest and is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest, if such exercise of religion, speech, expression, or association was not intended to—

(A) plan or prepare for an act of physical violence; or
(B) incite an imminent act of physical violence against another.

Now back to our friends at Public Advocate…

This has me worried, and I hope you are too.  Because who is to say what language will be considered hate speech?

Don’t believe me?  In Canada and Europe pastors have been thrown in jail for preaching Biblical teachings against homosexuality.

That’s awful. Good thing the aforementioned US bill protects speech, and outlaws assault.

This very well may be the reality of Thought Control in the United States.

I’m betting a lot of you guys are Christian. Have you read your Bible?

Anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

That’s thoughtcrime, buddy.

I hope you know how serious this issue really is.

Which is why, as President of Public Advocate, I have devoted my life to protecting family values and defending our freedoms.

You mean playing the victim card to justify continued persecution of people you don’t like?

I want to leave a legacy I am proud of, knowing the United States is still the nation I grew up in.

But without your support, this year alone we could see Barney Frank’s so-called “Employment Non-Discrimination Act” put into law.

We call this the “Gay Bill of Special Rights” because it doesn’t eliminate discrimination, it destroys workplace protection from radical homosexuals whose only mission is to spread their agenda.

If passed, the Gay Bill of Special Rights would require workplaces to meet a quota of homosexual employees, forcing employers to choose a radical homosexual over a potentially more qualified candidate.

Actually the bill explicitly bans preferential treatment or quotas. But hey – why tell the truth when lies are so much easier?

And no workplace will be exempt.  Churches, daycares, nursing homes, private schools, you name it, all will have to adhere to these regulations.

And Obama is even looking to push for the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” this year, which would remove the protection our soldiers have from the Homosexual Lobby.

Um, that’s already happened. Our military is being overrun by gays at this very moment. Pretty soon our military power will be in shambles, just like Canada, Germany, England, Australia, Israel, Italy, Russia, Spain, Sweden, and thirty-three other countries that allow homosexuals to serve.

And even the Healthcare bill is filled with numerous paybacks to homosexuals, giving lower healthcare premiums to “unmarried” homosexuals than married couples, all paid for at taxpayer expense.

Why is “unmarried” in quotes? Domestic partners aren’t married. We don’t allow them to marry. That’s wrong, but at least we try to address the inequality by giving them some of the same benefits as married couples.

I hope you understand this threat is real. . . and imminent.

And I also hope you will consider making a donation to Public Advocate to help protect our family values.

Public Advocate will never waver from the firm conviction that political decisions should begin and end with the best interests of American families and communities in mind, and that marriage is a sacred union between one man and one woman.

Public Advocate has been 100% dependent on the financial support of contributors, we do not receive any government or taxpayer money, nor do we want it.

I would appreciate it if you could help support Public Advocate by making a charitable contribution, please click here.

No matter the amount, be it $5 or $50 or more, every dollar you give is greatly appreciated and will go a long way towards defending our pro-family values.

It is my hope to keep you up-to-date on the fight for pro-family values through email alerts.

There are some tough battles coming up very soon and I am going to need your help if we are to win.

Thank you for your support.

Sincerely,

Eugene Delgaudio
President,
Public Advocate of the U.S.

There you have it – the sad tale of an oppressed minority in the United States, who want only to enjoy the same inequalities of freedom that they always have.

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To those who supported same-sex marriage in New York…

Just look at what you have wrought! It’s awful – look at these sinners, these reprobates. Sixty examples of what is wrong with society.



…Or not.

Again I say, way to go New York!

It’s time we stopped tolerating the idea that people like the above are deserving of condemnation.

 

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My response to Reverend Neal

In a previous post I called out Reverend Gregory Neal, a Methodist minister, for his pernicious views about premarital sex. He responded in the comments, and I asked him a few clarifying questions about his position. His answers did not sit well with me. Here is my response.

______________________

Dear Reverend Neal,

Thank you for responding to my follow-up questions regarding your views on premarital sex. Unfortunately, I cannot say that I found your position any more reasonable or commendable after reading your answers. Overall, I see you advocating a view that is false and demeaning towards a great number of people. Let me start at the beginning.

When the girl/woman named Jennifer asks you in your Q&A if premarital sex is wrong, you prepare her for the answer she doesn’t want to hear. “Since you have asked this question I must assume that you are willing to receive an honest answer, even if it differs somewhat from what your question indicates you wish to receive.” You avoid ever using the word “wrong” or “immoral” in your answer, but nonetheless you make your meaning quite clear. Premarital sex is harmful, you claim. To oppose it is the “correct and appropriate” stance. At the end of your answer you push marriage on Jennifer, as if you were a salesperson. Why not get married, if you and your boyfriend are truly married? Well? It is as if you cannot accept people having sex if they are not married.

In my blog entry discussing your Q&A, I point out that humans do not need a contract to be good to each other, to have sex that is wonderful and valid and not deserving of your disapproval. It is at this point that you attempt to modify your response. You stress your point about premarital sex being less than “ideal,” as if this somehow made your response more reasonable, when really what it says is, “premarital sex is okay; marital sex is just better.” You deny your attempt to sell Jennifer on marriage by explaining that you simply “couldn’t understand” why she would not seek marriage with her boyfriend. This explanation provides all the reassurance of statements such as, “I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with homosexual sex, I just don’t understand why a man wouldn’t want to have sex with a woman”, or “I think women should be free to join the workforce if they want to, I just don’t understand why they wouldn’t rather stay at home.” This is an insidious way to undermine someone’s position while claiming to support it.

You say that casual, uncommitted sex is bad because in it, a person is “used as a thing, a toy, an object, and not known, experienced, or appreciated as the whole person they are.” No, a person (let’s say she is female) who has a conversation with her partner about what type of sex to have and what it will mean, and engages in something that she and her partner find enjoyable is not “being used.” She is having sex because she wants to. To further insist that someone who is completely aware of what they are doing is “being used” is to show a lack of respect for their freedom and ability to make their own choices.

In a comment so incredible that I find it hard to know what to make of it, you state that sex outside of a marriage-like covenant is frequently rape. As an example of the possible harm of premarital sex, you cite “instances of date-rape that have occurred among youth I know.” Let me be very clear, Reverend Neal: Sex is consensual. Rape is not. Rape is a vile, disgusting attack in which you force yourself on someone – it has nothing to do with consensual sex. How dare you conflate the two in an attempt to villainize sex outside of marriage.

Lastly, in your argument that you and the UMC do not condemn premarital sex, you provide the exact evidence which shows that you do – you compare your stance on sex to the UMC’s stance on homosexuality. I agree that they are quite comparable, as the UMC’s position on homosexuality is bigoted and dehumanizing. The UMC denies marriage to homosexuals, prohibits the use of UMC funds to promote their acceptance[1], and defrocks homosexual ministers in their ranks. They proclaim that being gay is “incompatible with Christian teaching,” a statement that has only one meaning – being gay is wrong.

Similar, Reverend Neal, is your attitude toward premarital sex. You do condemn it. You admit that premarital sex is not intrinsically harmful, and yet at every step you act like it is. You constantly put people down who have sex outside of marriage by saying that what they are doing is less than “ideal.” You push marriage on people who have sex without it, saying that this is the “proper course” for them. You make ludicrous characterizations of premarital sex as rape. These are not the actions of a person who approves of premarital sex; they are the actions of a person who disapproves but refuses to admit it.

You’re wrong to find fault with sex without a contract, instead of finding fault with the specific mistakes, attitudes, and interactional styles that comprise the real danger to good relationships. One sentence you wrote to me comes close to a view that I would respect:

[In circumstances where two people are unable to enter into marriage,] I recognize that the marriage-like quality of their relationship is what is important… not a legal document or even a religious ceremony.

It is the quality of the relationship that is important in all circumstances. People’s freedom, health, and happiness are what matters. Adherence to an ancient code does not, and if that code restricts the extent to which people can be healthy, free, and happy, it should be thrown away without a second look.

Sincerely,
Tim Martin

1. “[The General Council on Finance and Administration] shall be responsible for ensuring that no board, agency, committee, commission, or council shall give United Methodist funds to any gay caucus or group, or otherwise use such funds to promote the acceptance of homosexuality or violate the expressed commitment of The United Methodist Church “not to reject or condemn lesbian and gay members and friends ” (¶ 161.F).” The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church – Administrative Order ¶806.9.

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