Friday, November 20, 2009

Re: Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009

and the lack of response from The Episcopal Church in the voice of our Presiding Bishop...

The Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Kaeton at Telling Secrets says it so well that I won't even waste time repeating it all.

I will quote another "Beloved" -- The Late Great Molly Ivins: "What you need is sustained outrage...there's far too much unthinking respect given to authority."

People, we ought to be outraged.

Silence is not golden...it is death-dealing.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

“the ultimate test of a moral society”

I just can't help but be amazed at the narrowness of people's belief systems. We talk about being a nation that believes in God even to the ridiculous point of having hissy fits about the word "God" being on our money or being able to display the Ten Commandments in government buildings. We talk God but we don't live it. We believe in God as long as we can fit the concept of God into our little shoebox minds. We love to point out how others do not act as though they believe in God but never stop to turn that pointing finger around to the tip of our own noses. We want others to change and do the things that we believe are good and right. Anyone who disagrees with us must be wrong. We talk about listening but all we are doing is thinking about what we will say next when the bozo talking shuts the heck up. Look at the success of the blog world – we can write what we want and not worry about someone interrupting us.

We live in this giant I, ME, MINE world. We can hardly blame it on one generation or the next. Best I can tell, every generation has tendency to view the world from an individual-what-does-it-do-for-me type of viewpoint. Everything is about ME NOW and if I have more then I will share later…maybe.

So what it in the world is up with this huge preoccupation about gays and lesbians, what they do, who they want to spend their lives with and whether they want to have children? Why are some heterosexuals so obsessed with trying to push us back into the closet? Or worse, bury us and play like they just saved humanity from some huge eschatological evil.

I am not surprised that the vote in Maine was a Yes vote on 1. Yet I am surprised that people care so much to spend so much money to fight one group of people having the right to legally marry a person that they love. So much money spent on this vote in Maine. Meanwhile children in the US go hungry, go without healthcare, are abused, mistreated, and ignored. While all the money that is being spent making certain that heterosexual marriage is kept clean and sanctimonious for heterosexual people, children died.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, German Lutheran pastor theologian during Hitler's reign wrote that "The ultimate test of a moral society is the kind of world that it leaves to its children." I won't even go into the crappy world we are leaving to our children…I am just talking about today and the way we treat them in the right here and now. If we are to be judged by Bonhoeffer's statement, we are a very immoral society and it appears we are steadily declining. But I hardly think it has anything at all to do with gay couples being able to wed the person they love. In fact, let's put the blame square where it belongs. If it isn't your kid, very few give a rat's ass.

Best I can tell, the world at large and the U.S. in particular is in a rather sorry state without worrying about gay marriage. I currently work at Episcopal City Mission. Although it is a chaplaincy program that ministers to kids in detention (jail), we get calls every Sunday and Monday from women seeking shelter. One can only guess why they seek it more then.

In a nation where almost half of all marriages end in divorce, perhaps society's focus would be better set on why people marry rather than who people marry.

Jesus talks about divorce yet it makes little difference. Even the church agrees that divorce is sometimes a necessary part of life. Marriage is not quite as sacred as we would like to pretend it is. Marriage is a civil ceremony, a legal status governed by law. According to the 2006 Census Bureau statistics, less than half of the "household" population in the US was married. So who is so concerned about who can and who cannot get married?

Might the world be a better place if we focus our attention on the families that are rather than the families that might be somewhere in the future? There are a whole lot of problems out there that need immediate attention and some of that money being spent on the boogie man in the closet would be well directed to those things.

According to the Annie E. Casey Foundation and Kids Count Data Center, the US average for children living in single-parent families is 32% (as of 2008). Maine's average is 31%. That's a whole lot of single-parent (most often Moms) raising kids while working.

In the US, 8% of the children live in extreme poverty – remember that extreme poverty means that it leads to death. In Maine, that number is 7% (as of 2008) The kind of killing poverty is something we like to pretend doesn't happen here in our own little country. But it does.

According to the Children's Defense Fund, in the United States as of November 2008, there were 73,901,733 children in the US. Out of those 73+million children, one is born into poverty every 33 seconds; one is abused or neglected every 35 seconds; one child dies before his or her first birthday every 18 minutes; and every 3 hours one child or teen is killed by gunfire…right here in these United States of America. Not only are our children compromised in these ways but 8.9 million of them are without health insurance. Thirty plus million of those 73+ million children are in the School Lunch Program which allows reduced price or free lunch.

Teen suicide rate is also on the increase again. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the third leading cause of death for young people between the ages of 15 and 24 and the second leading cause of death among 25-34 year olds. Males are four times as likely to take their own lives as are females.

I wonder what correlation there is between those who are pro-guns, anti-gay, anti-healthcare reform, anti-welfare, pro marriage for heterosexuals only, pro death penalty and believe that corporal punishment would bring peace back into the public school classroom.

The animosity toward gay and lesbian couples wanting to marry might be more understandable if it were truly a conviction based upon faith but it isn't. It is a smear campaign based upon a mass of lies. If I marry my partner, it will not affect one single marriage in this world negatively. Rather, from my partnership, another couple might even find hope in our love for one another.

No one is going to teach "homosexuality" in school. Shoot, they don't even teach heterosexuality in school…maybe if they did, the teen birth rate would not be increasing again. Kids adopted by gay or lesbian couples are no more likely to turn out gay than if raised by the biological parents. No one can teach someone to be gay…and furthermore – WHY THE HELL WOULD THEY WANT TO? Why would anyone "choose" to be gay????? Choose to be discriminated against? Choose to be vilified, demonized, humiliated…beaten to death??? Get real. Please.

Marriage by gays and lesbians will probably not change the statistics for divorce at all. The few studies done so far show that gay or lesbian couples are just as likely to break up for all the same reasons as do straight couples…life happens and people change and it is easier to divorce than it is to try to reconcile differences. It's that I, ME, MINE thing again working overtime. Gays and lesbians are no different than straight people.

Gay couples and lesbian couples will continue to marry when and where they can; they will continue to live together till death do they part; they will continue to raise children – either their own or those children no one else wants – and they will continue to live outside of the closet…regardless of whether or not other people want them to do so. They will continue to live, love, work, play, pray and just be…even if it makes other people uncomfortable.

Best I can tell, what we need to worry about is the children – not just our own selfish concerns for our own but for the children of this nation. They are wounded and we are the ones inflicting the wounds.

We are seriously failing the test of a "moral society."