Thursday, April 27, 2006

A Big Rah-Rah

Last night, the Los Angeles Lakers tied their first-round NBA playoff series with MY Phoenix Suns at one game even. Tomorrow is game three.

The Suns finished the regular season on top of their division, but that guarantees nothing in the playoffs. Particularly not against Kobe Bryant and his three personal bodyguards who pose as referees.

The Suns are a team of heart, courage and spirit. I've been rooting them on ever since I was in the first grade, and since I am OLD now, I have obviously been a fan for a very long time.

The Lakers are millionaire mercenaries: the best team money can buy. Their fans are so spoiled that one season in a blue moon without a playoff berth was enough to make many of 'em go root for the Clippers. Now that their darlings are back in contention again, the gangstas and gangsta-ettes are back: clad in gaudy purple-and-gold and loaded down with bling. After they've gotten drunk on overpriced arena beer and coked-up in the washrooms, they stand up in front of the Phoenix fans with their obnoxious banners and their in-yo'-face 'tudes.

Somewhere up in the rafters of the Staples Center (or whatever the hell they're calling it now), I know my dad will be perched in airy splendor, watching our team jump ahead of the Lakers again. If Heaven is, indeed, whatever makes you happiest, then he will be following the Suns the whole way. They weren't quite able to go the distance last year -- the last chance he had to watch the game in this world. Now he has an eternity to hope for that first Suns title.

I only hope it doesn't take an eternity for the Suns to get one.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The Pathetic Battle of the Sexes

Every time a blogger throws out a post on the eternal question of "Who's worse: men or women?" he or she always gets at least 150 comments. Most of them petty, childish and dirt-clod stupid. It reminds me of that old playground taunt,

"Girls go to Jupiter to get more stupider. Boys go to Mars to get more candy bars."

Or vice versa. Take your pick (and, sad to say, you probably will).

Our two political representatives of socialism and general childish irresponsibility, the Republicans and the Democrats, have actually taken sides in this infantile "war." The Democrats side with women and the Republicans with men. In a sort of stealth fashion, many Libertarians have also adopted men as their "pet" sex -- including (perhaps especially) a lot of the few who are women.

Let me spell out the true libertarian position on this issue. YOU -- AND YOU ALONE -- ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR HOW YOU LIVE YOUR LIFE. If you behave decently, it is because you have chosen to behave decently. If you behave like a swine, it is because you have chosen to behave like a swine.

And either way, it's all your own doing. You can neither credit it to, nor blame it on, anybody else.

There are a good many responsible and considerate men and women out there. They deserve the credit (at least, as far as human beings are concerned) for why they are basically virtuous and exemplary people. There are also a lot of real louses, and they are totally to blame for their own lousiness.

If you are the sort who spends your time whining about how awful the opposite sex is, right away I know some very basic things about you:

(A) You are a jerk.
(B) It's your own fault you're a jerk, because you have chosen to be one.
(C) You are blaming somebody else for it, which means that you are not only a crashing bore, but a total waste of other people's time. Unless you grow up and pull your head out of your ass, you will end up a total failure at everything that really matters in life.

This is true regardless of whether you are heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, asexual, omnisexual, carvinorous, herbivorous, fruitarian, Rotarian or just plain too-screwed-up-to-know-what-the-hell-you-are.

One of the biggest pile-of-crap lies I have ever heard is that gay people "hate" those of the opposite sex. While I'm sure there are some who do (and in fact, I've met a few of them), by an overwhelming majority, most of the people I know who hate those of the opposite sex -- truly loathe and despite them -- are heterosexual. Or, at the very least, so they tell us.

I routinely hear straight women say things about men that are nothing short of vile, cruel and hateful -- things that men would be smeared with honey and staked to an anthill for saying about them. Then they'll turn around and tell me that because I'm a lesbian, I "must" hate men.

To say that men and women have a problem relating to each other right now would be the understatement of all understatements. To blame gay people for it is beyond absurd.

And "libertarian" women who eat your own and scapegoat gays, kindly find some other way to score points with guys and get laid. Not all hetero libertarian women are like that, by any means, but it's quite noticeable how many of them are.

It's not my fault that there are liberal feminists out there who hate men. It's their own damn fault, so put the blame where it belongs. Nor is it my fault that many liberal gay people behave badly. Either take it up with them or shut the hell up about it.

To all of those out there who try to profit personally by getting people to scapegoat others for their own problems: an especially hot place in Hell awaits you.

No true libertarian -- small or capital "L" -- wastes his or her time discouraging people from taking responsibility for who they choose to be. And if you claim you're a CHRISTIAN while you're doing such things, well...don't make me laugh.

Own who you are, and if you don't like it, change it. I'll bet nobody will ever give me millions of dollars or elect me to high office for saying that, but it is nonetheless true.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

The Power of Prayer

I recently learned that an evangelical website has included my name, along with those of several other gay Christian writers, on a list of people whose salvation should be prayed for.

Now, some folks might get indignant at something like this. Are the pray-ers suggesting that we are somehow uniquely in need of prayer for our salvation?

Who cares? The fact of the matter is that somebody out there is praying for us -- perhaps even several somebodies. Praying for somebody's salvation is never a bad thing, and it never hurts the person for whom the prayers are being offered.

I no longer get angry when somebody tells me I'm a sinner and warns me I'm in danger of going to Hell. Heck, if they didn't care where I ended up, they WOULDN'T warn me!

Nobody died and made them God, so the decision -- one way or another -- is not theirs to make. God got to decide whether to offer salvation to me and chose to do so through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. I get to decide whether or not to accept His offer of grace and salvation. I have already chosen to say "yes" to the best offer I will ever get.

While a general turning-away from sin is indeed required along with the acceptance of salvation in Christ, Christians differ over the specifics of what sin may or may not be. Our own, individual consciences will either accuse or excuse us on the Day of Judgment (see Romans 2:14-16), which clearly implies that, for example, when Paul goes before the Throne of Grace, he may have a slightly different way of reading his own conscience than does Martin Luther, or Mother Teresa, or Jerry Falwell, or that little old lady on the streetcorner with no teeth who gives out the Bible tracts. Jesus gave us some very clear guidelines on how His followers ought to interpret what sin is and what it isn't, but those who talk the most about Jesus often seem to have the least understanding about what He meant.

Gay Christians and anti-gay Christians, to give just one example of many, disagree about whether loving same-sex relationships are sins. But if an anti-gay Christian wants to pray for my salvation instead of trying to get me fired from my job, kicked out of my church, thrown into jail or written out of the Constitution, I regard this as a major step in the right direction.

A little clarifier for all you "multiculturalists" out there. While Christians pray for the salvation of those they consider sinners, a great many Muslims pray for their damnation. The Christian God mourns every sinner who goes to Hell. The Muslim Allah rejoices every time another one gets pitched into the flames. Not every Muslim believes this, of course -- nor does every Christian consider it a bad thing when somebody of whom they disapprove (they think) is damned -- but throughout much of the world, this does tend to be the general pattern.

And a little clarifier for you anti-gay Christians. When you tell me that you're praying for my salvation, and I return the favor by saying I'll pray for yours, too, don't pour cold water all over the warm specialness of the moment by getting mad at me for it.

There's nothing insulting about being called a sinner. According to the Christian faith, we all are. Just remember that the next time you call somebody else one.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Boo-Hoo! We're ALL Victims, Now!

Has anybody else noticed how whiny, victimmy and just plain...well...LIBERAL many "conservatives" have become?

Take the mens' rights movement. Yes, TAKE it -- please! All the credibility men had ever managed to build up, over the years, criticizing feminism as whiny, victimmy and hostile to men has since evaported like dew in the summer sunshine.

Why? Well, because the mens' movement is encouraging men to whine, snivel, feel sorry for themselves and see themselves as helpless victims. And it is run and largely populated by men who hate women every iota as much as so many militant feminists hate men.

Don't like the way the liberal feminists conflate statistics to say things they really don't -- for example, that men always batter women, and never the other way around? Well, you COULD simply cite the real statistics that show that this isn't true, but that doesn't deliver quite the same (pardon the pun) punch as shameless exaggeration does, does it? Instead of telling us that more and more women are battering their husbands, boyfriends and even children (which is not only true, but, to any reasonable person, alarming), conflate the total number of women who hit men into one huge, scary but laughably-unbelievable number. That's right...count EVERY instance where a woman hits a man the very same way, without bothering to ask whether she instigated the violence or whether she was merely trying to defend herself. You will shock a whole lot of people that way -- but you'll also convince most of 'em that you're a liar who does not deserve a respectful hearing.

This is exactly what seems to have happened. And so, mens' rights activists who try to raise public awareness to the very-real problem of increased female-on-male violence are treated like crybabies and outright liars. "Whassamatter," the public demands, as it rolls on the floor and howls with derisive laughter, "You're bigger and stronger, but you can't just...what...DEFEND yourself?"

You can defend yourselves, but you can't protect your children. Wherein lies the real reason so many of you are crying.

Recently, we have all been treated to the comic spectacle of FOX TV somberly raising doubts about the guilt of those Duke lacrosse players accused of beating and raping the stripper. What paragons of traditional family values these folks really are! What they are, we are discovering, is shameless political whores who've discovered there's money to be made in shilling for "men's rights" as one-sidedly and irrationally as liberal feminists shill for the "rights" of women.

Excuse me, but if a young woman who gets drunk in some guy's dorm-room is held partially responsible for the rape that ensues (and these are exactly the folks who would tell us so), then why the hell are these lacrosse players not being held responsible for the fact that they unquestionably (A) hired women to take their clothes off in the home of one of them and (B) drank insane amounts of liquor while the strippers were on the premises?

Men need to make up their minds whether they want to be seen as hormone-crazed half-wits who can't control themselves or as at least potentially responsible and contributing members of society.

These lacrosse players are guilty of abysmal judgment and shamefully irresponsible behavior -- whether they are guilty of beating and raping those strippers or not. And for FOX to pander to evangelical Christians and conservative Catholics, holding themselves up to them as supposed defenders of family values, even while they mealymouth around about what happened between the lacrosse players and the strippers, is nothing but particularly foul and vile hypocrisy.

I almost never find myself in agreement with Ann Coulter, but her current article on the whole lacrosse players/strippers brouhaha is spot-on. Catch it at

Come on, Right-Wing guys. Women like Ann Coulter may side with you the large majority of the time, but they're not stupid. Stretch your presumption on their blind loyalty too far, and they'll cut you down to size.

If you really enjoy crying and feeling sorry for yourselves all that much, I've a feeling they can give you more reasons to than any liberal feminist ever could.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

More Light, Less Heat -- Part I

The exchange I have been having with some commenters on this Blog has helped me realize the need for another regular feature. This is more important than Naked Emperors or Eight Hundred Pound Gorillas in the living-room. It is a matter of Christian service, and it is a service that I must give.

The mainstream media has given us a very skewed portrait of America. This is quite deliberate, I can assure you. The Culture War sells papers and air time -- and it sells big. Anything that helps people understand what's really going on with their fellow human beings is unwelcome if it alters the cartoon-simple picture the media wishes to show us. If we came to understand each other better, this trumped-up Culture War would have to end.

Evangelical Christianity has a very schizoid position toward gays and lesbians. Out of one side of its face, it tells people that gays are NOT Christians (period -- ever-ever-ever-ever). Then out of the other, it says it will not welcome those of us who are. Which of these two, contradictory and mutually-exclusive positions is the truth? They're hoping that most people will be too stupid or self-absorbed to ask.

Further compounding the hypocrisy of Evangelicals are their frequent and thunderous condemnations of the very mainstream media upon which -- for the perpetuation of useful public ignorance -- they so depend. "Don't dare get the story wrong about us," they say, "but by all means help us spin the story about everybody else."

Many gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Evangelical churches have sprouted up around the country. There is a real revival, in the GLBT community nationwide, of traditional Christian faith. Why has the mainstream media missed it? I suppose a better question would be, why would anybody wonder why it wouldn't?

So we know the mainstream media has no incentive to cover the gay Evangelical revival, and we know why. We also know why mainstream Evangelicalism would rather ignore us (or distort the facts about us) than engage us in serious debate. A few books have been written to "debunk" gay Christianity, but they are so full of errors and outright lies that they are an embarrassment to every honest Evangelical. These people count on the mainstream media to cover their backs, at the very same time they are publicly crying crocodile tears about how abused they are by the media! If hypocrisy were an art form, these guys would be Michelangelos.

Not only is all this abysmally unfair to gays, but those who depend upon Evangelical Christian leaders for spiritual guidance have been robbed and defrauded.

Evangelical gays are not shutting up and we're not going away. We will continue to take the truth of our message to those willing to hear it, and in time this will accomplish what courageous truth-telling always does. It will shame those invested in lies into engaging with us and dealing with reality.

A big lie, frequently told by gay-welcoming liberal churches, is that we mustn't take the Bible too seriously, because a "literal" reading of it would condemn us. There has perhaps never been a more tragic lie. A consistently Evangelical interpretation of Biblical teaching -- far from condemning gays to a life of celibacy -- would set us free to be treated just as straight people are. We would be held to the exact same standard as that which applies to straights, which would be stricter, by far, than the one indulged in by most non-Christian gays, but would still allow us to form loving, faithful, lifelong covenanted relationships and build strong families.

There are a couple of lies that Evangelicals do not want, at any costs, to see exposed -- which is why they so vehemently participate in the dehumanization of gays.

We, as a society, have really screwed up marriage and the family. As the overwhelming majority of people in society are heterosexual, any constructive and truth-telling solution to the problems we face would focus primarily on heterosexual conduct. But religious leaders must be careful what they say to those who provide the majority of their financial support. A far better fundraising tactic, than to blame those holding the purse-strings for their own problems, is to blame somebody else for them -- especially if it's somebody unpopular and easy to dislike.

The real reason "homosexuality" is such a popular Evangelical bogeybear is because modern Evangelicals have become so morally corrupt. Jesus told us to focus more on our own sins than on those of others. Modern "Christian" morality consists largely of snooping into the lives of others, obsessing about THEIR morality and trying to bully them around. With attitudes like this abounding among those who set themselves up as moral judges over the rest of us, it is small wonder our society has become such a open sewer.

Now, lemme see here. Most people are heterosexual, so let's concentrate on...homosexuality? How CONVENIENT! Just make it a "sin" to do what the vast majority of people would never want to do anyway, and divert as much attention as possible away from your own misdeeds.

The very focus on homosexuality is indeed a sign of how immoral our society has become. The only problem is that most of the corruption has come from the very people who presume to have the right to criticize others.

Why do those who take it upon themselves to lecture me about MY morality get so indignant at me for suggesting they look more closely at their own? Stop for just a minute, and think about what this says about them. They want me to believe they are acting out of Christian love, and simply trying to reprove me for my own betterment -- but when I return the favor and do the same to them, look at their reaction.

Shouldn't they be grateful for the advice? (After all, they expect ME to be!)

I'm supposed to be chastened, humbled and profusely thankful for the guidance they would give me, but they are insulted when I offer constructive criticism to them. Yet if I react to them the way they do to me, they marvel at what an "angry" person I am! Go figure THAT out!

I guess humility is no longer considered one of the Christian virtues.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Holy War, Batman!

The message many people seem to have drawn, from the terrorist insanity that has so ramped-up in the world since 9-11, is that all religious people are nuts. This is unfortunate for a variety of reasons, not least of which because it is not true.

I believe the Holy Spirit is trying to move within the Christian world. One of the signs of this, I think, is that Christian behavior is being contrasted, in the public mind, against that of radical Islam. It is not fair to say that Evangelical Christians, or conservative Catholics, are on a par with Muslim fundamentalists who murder people because some Danish cartoonists drew funny pictures of Muhammad. Christianity should be better than that, because Jesus SAID we were supposed to be better. I just made a value judgment -- oh, shame on me!

I am confident that Christians who truly follow Christ's example will come off looking better than people of ANY religion who commit murder in the very name of their faith. If you want to call me "intolerant" for this, so be it. The Holy Spirit does not permit us to murder. Those of us in whom the Spirit dwells will prove incapable of such a thing.

Christians in the United States own their own government. We have a greater obligation than do those in many other lands. When our government commits crimes in our name, we have the final veto-power over what is done. I do not approve of killing civilians -- even in the name of "freedom." Granted, the Muslim extremists seem to make this necessary when they hide themselves amid civilian populations, but does this really place us at the disadvantage under which it seems to pin us?

Any religion that condones letting terrorists hide amid civilians has something very wrong with it. I refuse to be "multiculturalist" and say this isn't so. But we still have a choice. Do we succumb to the temptation to bomb civilian centers, using that as an excuse, or do we strive to find another way? THAT is where those in our society who claim the name of Christian can make all the difference.

A post of mine, from a few days ago, is creating quite a bit of commentary attention. I welcome this, as it shows that more people are reading this Blog, but when people say irresponsible things in connection with Born on 9-11, I feel I have a moral duty to offer tough love in reply. In my response to one of those comments, I said that if we permit our troops to kill civilians -- but say nothing in protest against this -- we are willing participants in murder. Is it "supporting the troops" to offer their leaders no moral guidance in matters of war? Sorry, but I don't think so.

We had nothing to say about when, where, or under what circumstances we were to be born. God could have placed us anywhere, at any time, and in any circumstances. We could have been galley-slaves in ancient Egypt, or serfs in tsarist Russia. But we are not. We were born amid the freest people in human history, and have more to say about how our government conducts itself than have any other people on earth.

On the Day of Judgment, we will be held accountable for HOW OUR LIVES HAVE IMPACTED OTHERS. All this running around, babbling about "homosexuality" and the like is designed, I believe, to evade this central truth. A couple of the commenters on this Blog seem to have conveniently forgotten that.

There is no moral difference between sending other people to go commit murder in your name and going out with a bomb or gun and committing murder yourself. Those who claim they do not believe this are lying. Otherwise they would protest when a person who has hired a hit-man to rub somebody out is convicted of murder himself.

This is why, though I hope for the best in Iraq and Afghanistan, I refuse to condone the killing of civilians there. A very large part of supporting the youngsters we send over to fight in these faraway lands is having the moral backbone to insist that our country stand on the side of Right -- no matter how inconvenient it may be.

Of course there is no way to totally avoid civilian deaths. But there have been untold thousands of civilians killed -- many of them small children and helpless elderly folks -- and our government refuses even to count the number of dead. I can assure you that God counts them. The troops who were merely doing their jobs will not be held accountable for following the orders they were given -- no military can function unless orders are followed -- but WE will be held accountable for having looked the other way.

I have great difficulties with liberal Christians, as I have already made clear. They claim that the Holy Spirit is moving in their midst, but they do their utmost to silence any Christians who disagree with their agenda. I don't like some of what conservative Christians are saying, either, but I refuse to try and silence them. The Holy Spirit can only work effectively when those who follow Christ are united, at least in terms of mutual respect.

Each side -- both Christian Left and Christian Right -- is now trying to shut the other up. The confusion coming from those who comment negatively on things I say on this Blog seems, to me, to be motivated largely by this. Their leaders paint liberal Christians as one-dimensionally evil, which is not only unfair but untrue. But liberal Christians do the same darned thing to them.

Why should Christians who want to support greater inclusivity in the Church have to sign onto a whole raft of other presuppositions, too? It isn't enough for those who support gay rights, for example, to simply tackle that issue in and of itself -- I hear them trying to persuade Right-Wing Christians that they are "intolerant" simply because they believe that Christ is the Savior.

Hello...many gay Christians also believe that when Jesus said, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, and no one comes to the Father except through me," He meant it. And that He knew what He was talking about. Wouldn't it be nice if Evangelical gays could march alongside liberal mainline gay Christians in support of equal rights for gays and lesbians? We won't be able to do this if we are told that, in order to show solidarity with those on the Left, we must deny our Lord.

I don't believe that Jesus was simply some nice hippie-dude who lived a while two thousand years ago, came up with a few good ideas, and then died. Nor do I believe that all there is to the Christian faith is playing nice, being fair and not running with scissors. As I also said somewhere on a previous occasion, we are not all ten years old, and life is not just somebody's birthday party.

Equal rights for gays MUST include the right for each and every one of us to think for ourselves, to read the Bible for ourselves, and to form our own conclusions. I never felt the same degree of intense and unrelenting pressure to conform from the Religious Right that I now get from the Religious Left. I certainly would like to think that, in having come out as a lesbian, I haven't merely exchanged one closet, or one mask, for another.

Right-Wing Christians are confused. Janice and "Wishyaknewme" -- my two hard-headed Evangelical commenters from that previous post -- are living proof of this. But given all the nonsense they so often hear from the Christian Left, I can hardly blame them.

If we don't stand up to the hetersexual Christians who say they support us, and tell them to stop unnecessarily antagonizing our conservative brothers and sisters in Christ, we have only ourselves to blame for the pea-soup-fog of confusion that persists on gay rights issues. We have no business demanding that Evangelical Christians abandon their convictions about Jesus Christ in order to support us. They do not need to do that, and in fact, if they are truly to follow Jesus as Son of God and Savior of the World, they MUST learn to support us.

Conservative Christians are now under the delusion that when the teachings of Christ seem to get in the way of protecting religious orthodoxy, they must be discarded. Go back, again, and read the Gospel accounts of Jesus's arrest, trial, passion and death. Go back and read again of those who thought that He must die to preserve religious truth: those "good religious people" who even ordered, after they had killed Him, that His tomb be sealed. It is more important, to their modern-day spiritual heirs, to exclude people than it is to reach out and listen to them. They are trying to seal that tomb all over again, and their "doctrinally-correct" guards stand armed and at the ready.

What I see happening, on the Religious Left, however, is a whole 'nother religion being formed. They don't seem to understand that the only reason we should follow what Jesus says is BECAUSE HE IS WHO HE SAYS HE IS. Nor can they go on claiming that Right-Wingers use Jesus as a figurehead if they're going to do the same thing.

I am willing to let the Holy Spirit work in the Church today and in the future. This means that even though I disagree with anti-gay Christians, I refuse to let my dislike of them curdle into a stance so defiant that it poisons any possibility of dialogue with them. I'll play plenty rough with them, and they may find some of what I say insulting, but hey -- if they're gonna dish it out, they'd better be able to take it. Let's us Christians show that we can settle our differences without guns, bombs or blind and tomb-sealed silence.

Doctrinal orthodoxy and compassionate inclusion are two different sides of the very same coin. Let's not try to make two totally separate religions out of the same Christian faith. And let us never have another holy war in the Name of the One who said, "Blessed are the peacemakers."

Monday, April 17, 2006

Taxes -- OUCH!!!

Well, I just got back from my CPA's office, where the slaughter was even uglier than usual. I just wrote the biggest checks I've ever written in my life. And they were, of course, to pay my income tax.

I'm not going to write much of a post today. I'm still in a state of shock. Suffice it to say that if I hadn't already been a Libertarian before now, this tax season would have been enough to convert me.

Where is the morality of letting politicians determine whether we make "enough" money or "too much?" And what is all this crapola about income tax cuts being for "the rich?" I was laid-off -- for the third time in five years -- at the end of this past September and didn't have a job the last three months of the year. Nonetheless, I just paid the highest tax bill I have ever had.

This is rape. It is thievery. They even took money from my mother, who's had Alzheimer's for nearly ten years and now no longer even remembers her own name.

I'll remember this, the next time these con artists vote themselves yet another big pay raise. It's time for yet another American Revolution.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

It's Eastertime Again, Tra-la!

Greetings, my faithful ones, and a Happy Easter to all!

Well, I finally found out how Easter Day is determined each year. It's the first Sunday of the first full moon of Spring. You may never need to know that, but it might make you sound smarter if you pop that little factoid on a first date.

I pretty much meet the definition of a "South Park Conservative." I guess this means that I no longer hold up as a liberal at all. Funny how long it sometimes takes us to change a self-image that has become outworn.

But what shall those of us who are South Park Conservatives -- and Christians, too -- do about South Park the TV show?

I haven't been watching the show for very long. So many others, on the blogosphere's libertarian Right, have been talking about it that I started recently. Just in time to catch the last several re-runs and the start of this season.

What to say...what to say? Well, of course it's funny as hell. Wickedly hilarious, as a matter of fact. The sight of all those compassionate leftists with their plastic dead-fetus-sticking-out-of-the-head hats during "Coinjoined Twin Myalexia Week" had me in tears of merriment. And when the Smug rolled out of San Francisco -- joining the cloud of Smug from George Clooney's Academy Awards speech to form a Hurricane Katrina-scale threat -- I laughed so loud I frightened my pets right out of the room.

This show takes on a lot of liberal vanities and makes you laugh at them instead of getting mad or, even worse, feeling that there must be something wrong with you because you recognize them as the empty conceits they really are. And there's certainly a lot to be said for that. In the entertainment industry -- a racket drunk on Smug -- this is sorely needed.

Then came the much-ballyhooed Muhammad on The Family Guy episode. Which they HAD to know Comedy Central was going to weenie out and censor. Was there much to like about the ballsy stand the show took? Of course there was.

I know the "Jesus" part took place during a supposed Islamofascist propaganda video. They can claim (as surely they do) that this was actually a backhanded compliment to the fact that though we Christians might be offended, we will respond in a far more grownup, civilized and...well...Christian manner than did so much of the Muslim world in the wake of those Danish cartoons.

And indeed, I will protest South Park's blasphemy in a suitably Christian manner. Instead of staging a one-woman riot in the street or burning life-sized effigies of Cartman, I will simply stop watching the show.

Does this sound like an extreme response? Perhaps, to many, it may seem so. And it's too bad my support of South Park has to be so short-lived. But I am a newly-minted libertarian conservative second, and a Christian first and foremost of all.

I can't bring myself to believe the show had to include such a disgraceful mockery of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior, just to get their point across. There surely had to be another way.

I do not consider Jesus to be just another religious figure, on a par with Muhammad, or Buddha, or Moses or anybody else. I believe that Jesus is God.

Christians believe that on the very first Easter Sunday morning, Jesus walked out of the tomb in which He had been sealed to spend eternity in death. And that because of this, we will spend eternity with Him, joyously alive.

I hope you don't consider this post a downer. For it speaks of the greatest upper of them all.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Where Will We Stand?

People so often manage to turn the Christian faith into a crutch, a hearty thumbsuck or their own, personal little club that they entirely miss what it's all about. Good Friday is one of those times, during the year, when we are supposed to stop and remember.

All too often, we get caught up in the celebration and the pageantry of the Easter season, and we overlook what's central about it. When we read again the story of Christ's passion and crucifixion, we tend to forget a few things we'd be wise to recall.

Those most responsible for handing Jesus over to death were the "good, religious people" of their time. People very impressed with their own piety. People who found it offensive that God might love those they hated. The fact that Jesus welcomed the outcasts, the sinners and the "unlovable" was what largely led to his demise.

What we ought to ask ourselves, as we watch Christ stagger past us carrying His Cross, is where WE would have stood had we been there when it happened. Would we have followed Him to Calvary, standing at the foot of His Cross in solidarity with Him and being washed with His blood? Or would we have stood amid the angry, hateful and self-righteous mob that screamed for his crucifixion?

Seldom is the answer made clearer by anyone than it was by somebody who dumped troll-dirt on this Blog after yesterday's post. The dude came right out and admitted HE DIDN'T EVEN BOTHER TO READ THE DAMN POST, yet because he happened to catch sight of the last paragraph -- which spoke of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered Christians -- he was so consumed with blind and irrational hate that he had to leave a comment. He informed me that I had "ticked him off" by claiming that gay people can be Christians. Then he said that this was not possible.

Pardon me, but nobody died and made this clown God. He simply doesn't get to determine who can or cannot be a Christian. All he did, by leaving such a stupid and cowardly comment (he didn't even have the courage to leave his own friggin' name), was show that HE is not a Christian.

Jesus warned that not everyone who says to Him "Lord, Lord," will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. But as this guy obviously reads the Bible as sloppily, lazily and irresponsibly as he does the blog posts on which he comments, he'd hardly be in any position to know that.

One would think it might be of interest to a Christian just discovering the existence of Christian gays that at least some of us are concerned about right doctrine (the subject, of course, of my previous post). This guy, however, has been driven so mad by hate that it's more objectionable to him that people he dislikes are in relationship with Christ than it is that others might not accept the authority of the testimony to Him we find in Scripture.

This is the same thing that so "ticked off" Jesus's murderers.

I'll take this commenter's kind on anytime, anywhere, and I will eat his lunch. Just bring it. None of his type, however, have the guts to show their faces. Certainly not when they don't even have the guts to reveal their names.

As for who's the better Christian, and who's more of a sinner, let's examine YOUR life, you coward, and see how you stack up. I'll compare my life with yours any day of the week.

We all know where you stand, dude. You are one spiritually-sick and twisted mess. You stand among Jesus's crucifiers. If He were to come back today, you'd crucify Him all over again.

I always welcome comments from my readers, and encourage you all to leave more of them. And I will certainly be courteous to you if you are the same to me. But this Blog is my house, and I have the right to expect decent manners from those who visit here. If you bring garbage like that here, I'm gonna smoke you.

Act like a boor and you'll be treated like one. Bring intelligent insights to this Blog, and whether you agree with me or not, we'll have a civil conversation. The one thing I will NOT tolerate is anybody who claims to be a Christian (or at least to pass judgment on whether others are Christians or not), but can do no better themselves than to dishonor Christ.

This is, after all, Good Friday. Christ has suffered quite enough already.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

It's Heresy Week in America...Again

Ahhh, Holy Week! The time to fix our hearts and minds upon the Garden of Gethsemane, the Via Dolorosa, the Cross of Calvary and...the usual scoffing, freakin' loonies hell-bent on "debunking" Christian doctrine.

What a mess. And at my church last week, during our adult education forum, we hosted a university professor (who else), who managed -- within the space of one little hour -- to make a good many folks believe that the Gospel of Judas had as much right to be included in the Bible as those of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John (the latter of which was dismissed as "simply an attempt to rebut the Gospel of Thomas"). Another gem of wisdom to which we were treated was the observation that -- according to a newspaper article -- Jesus never actually walked on water, but on ICE!

I read the same articles as Herr Professor. Funny, they just didn't impress me as much.

All I kept thinking was "Oh, no...not again!" NOT. FREAKIN'. AGAIN. It took me the better part of a decade to find a church home I thought was both welcoming and doctrinally-faithful -- or, at least, so I thought. But we gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered Christians are probably chasing a fantasy in thinking that straight Christians anywhere to the Right of so-far- to-the-Left-they're-practically-falling-off-the-edge-of-the-earth are ready, yet, to accept us.

Of course, this is the same problem that African-Americans had a few decades back, during the Civil Rights Movement. Those on the Religious Right disgraced themselves and everything they claim to believe in, opposing equality for Black Americans at every turn. Who supported racial minorities in their quest for civil rights? Only, for the most part, those in the White liberal Christian community.

I wish to point out, however, that Black Christians refused to let themselves get sucked into the vapid la-la-land of liberal Christian theology. To this very day, Black churches are usually solidly doctrinally traditional -- and most are downright conservative. They basically said, to the White Christian Leftists who supported them, "Thanks for behaving like true Christians toward us, but your theology still isn't our cup of tea."

Would that more gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered Christians had the same sort of integrity.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

A Religious Person? Dahhhling, how mahhhvelous!

Other blogs frequently provide me with material for this one. As I am an essayist, rather than a journalist (in other words, predominantly a creative writer), I work in a rather different way than do many bloggers. Often, instead of merely borrowing something another blogger has said, I get insights from a blog its author may never have intended -- indeed, may not see him/herself. And the commentary thread of a blog posting is often the richest insight- motherlode of all.

I don't want to embarrass anybody, so I may not necessarily cite here the blogs from which these insights come. I'm not quoting anyone else, after all, nor are the ideas I am expressing theirs. I don't know if very many other bloggers are doing this, but as we definitely need more original thought in the blogosphere, I'm perfectly happy to help start a new trend.

At a libertarian blog I particularly like, a commentary debate has erupted over whether environmentalism is a religion. I made no bones, in this thread, about the fact that I consider at least the extremist version of it a religion. Many at the more-extreme end of the enviro movement actually consider the earth a goddess -- they call her Gaia -- and they believe that all of life on earth is part of a web that makes the whole something more than its parts. Human beings are not regarded, by these folks, as any more sacred or even important than bats, butterflies or influenza. As a matter of fact, on the whole, they tend to think of us as somewhat less desirable than influenza -- rather their own version, I suppose, of the Serpent in Eden.

Christian libertarians seem to be in the minority. Go to any libertarian site, and its commentary threads are dominated by self-impressed young things, quite sure they're too smart to believe in God. Whenever a comment of mine exposes my religious convictions (as happens frequently), I can almost feel their revulsion through my computer screen.

I rather picture it thus: peering at me through the monocle (or perhaps even the magnifying glass), one says as an aside to another, "Oh, how QUAINT! An actual religious person! How amusing! How totally mahhhhvelous!"

Of course, they tend to interpret "religion" so narrowly that only those of very traditional, theistic faiths -- Christian, Jewish or Muslim -- count as "religious people." Nothing any less traditional, or more avant-garde, than these old standards seem to qualify.

Now, on this other blog's latest thread, I basically farted in church. I said that I define religion as any individual's beliefs about the ultimate matters of life: why we're here, what life is all about, etc. Well, some of the other commenters did NOT appreciate being told they had a -- sniff here of pure indignation -- religion. Religion being, after all, for the great and ignorant unwashed out there. The folks, I would suspect, who don't recognize the commenters' brilliance.

When I attempt to explain my position, and am either shouted down or simply ignored, I come here to clarify. I suppose that is, at the most basic level, what one's own blog is for. So here I go.

The First Amendment protects the freedom of religious expression for ALL the citizens in this great country of ours. A great many on the Religious Right, however, would like to change that. They are now trying to claim that anyone who does not allow them to force their beliefs on everybody else is VIOLATING THEIR RELIGIOUS FREEDOM. If they get their way, the non-establishment clause of the Constitution will be obliterated, in favor of popular-majority rule.

They are already quite openly committed to this agenda. I hear all the time, for example, even from people who ought to know better, that Right-Wing Christians "have a right" to step all over gays and lesbians. Why? Well, because it is a form of "religious expression" for them, and therefore sacrosanct.

Never mind the religious freedom of the gays and lesbians, whose deepest convictions may run counter to what these bullies desire. Or that of the heterosexual Christians who do NOT believe "homosexuality" to be a sin, and who may even see it as a matter of religious conviction to support gay rights. Only the most popular religious beliefs -- those held by the noisy majority, and backed by most of the money -- are considered worthy of protection anymore.

I would vote for an atheist who loved this country and respected the Constitution before I would vote for a "Christian" who holds his fellow-Americans in contempt and uses the Constitution for toilet paper. Make of that whatever you will. But the Religious Right has just about seen to it that nobody who isn't conventionally religious has a hope of running for political office in this country. Poll after poll shows they'd have trouble becoming dogcatcher.

If the pinkie-in-the-air, self-appointed elites who disdain traditional religion don't get their heads out of their keysters pretty soon, they may find themselves relegated to second-class citizenship in every way. Get over yourselves, for crying out loud, and listen to reason. You're supposed to be able to do that, aren't you? You seem, as a matter of fact, to think you're the ONLY ones who can.

It is in your own best interest -- no matter HOW irreligious or anti-religious you consider yourself -- to see religion defined not narrowly, but as broadly as possible. Religion can also be whatever you believe in the place of religion -- however "non-religious" it may seem. If you are an atheist, that is a religion. It is, in fact, one of the oldest religions in the world: one that predates monotheism by thousands of years.

And if you're an agnostic, again, please get over the wonderful aroma of your own flatulence. EVERYBODY -- and I mean EVERY FREAKIN' BODY -- is actually an agnostic, according to the strict definition of the word. All an agnostic really is is somebody who doesn't KNOW whether God exists. Well, join the club. Faith is not certain knowledge; it is what must suffice, for theistic believers, in the place of the certitude that, in this world, none of us is granted.

The fine-tuned definition of an agnostic, most useful for today, is someone who thinks there might possibly be a god (or gods) out there, but who rejects the possibility that the divine has seen fit to reveal itself to us. It is actually about as far-removed from atheism as it is from theism. Atheists and agnostics both tend to believe what they believe because they think they're smarter than everybody else. There's nothing particularly wrong with that, except when their vanity blinds them to their own best interests.

"Freedom of religious expression" means the liberty to answer the ultimate questions of human life in the way that makes the most sense to you. That is certainly how the Founders of this nation -- some of the most significant of whom were NOT Bible-believing Christians -- intended it to be understood. If you're SOOOO terrified of getting "religious" cooties that you disdain the protection you deserve under our Constitution -- the protection and respect its own framers intended you to have -- then all I can say is that you're not quite as sharp as you think you are.

Even an idiot is utterly convinced that he's a genius. Thinking you're smart may not exactly be the same thing as being there.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Nice People Rule

One bumper-sticker I've been seeing a lot lately is the one that says, "MEAN PEOPLE SUCK!!!" While I have to agree with that sentiment, I'd like to remain positive. Easter is almost here. Those bunnies will be delivering those chocolate eggs before we know it.

I think mean people, and stupid people, get far too much attention these days. What about nice people? What about folks who are kind, considerate and -- maybe even -- smart?

Phoenix is a conservative city. There are far more Republicans here than Democrats, and a large majority of the Christians locally (at least of the Protestant variety) are evangelicals. I see the way these people are portrayed by most of the media, and it puzzles me.

Most of the conservative Republicans, and evangelical Christians, I know personally are NOT bigots. They tend to be some of the best folks I've ever known. Sure I hear the stupid and cruel comments made by many letters to the editor and blog commenters about gays. Are the people who make these remarks jerks? They certainly are.

But I know too many political and religious conservatives to believe that the jerks represent the norm. It is becoming very clear to me that the jerks speak for nobody but themselves and their fellow jerks. They try to hide behind "conservatism" because it seems to dignify their bigotry. Most bigots are too cowardly to stand up and proclaim their hatred for what it really is: simply their own opinion.

How come so many hate-crimes take place in Blue America? How come, at Phoenix's own most-recent Pride Parade, not a single hate group showed up to protest? Here we are, smack in the middle of a Red state, and yet the nearly-unanimous review of this year's Pride, from the people who were there, is that the festival was one of peace and goodwill?

I dreaded coming out to my dad. The opinions he usually expressed placed him somewhere to the far Right of Archie Bunker. When he stopped driving, because of his declining eyesight, he said that the reason he didn't want to be out on the road anymore was because he "might hit a Republican, and we need every one of 'em we can get!" But when I did finally tell him I was gay, he expressed nothing but support for me. I was still his daughter, and as far as he was concerned, I always would be.

I attended a Southern Baptist university, so many of my closest friends are evangelicals. Not a one of 'em has abandoned me. My neighbor across the street, who took me to Bible school when I was a child, goes to a church that officially condemns "homosexuality." Yet she has been nothing but supportive, and since my dad died, she has been like a mother to me.

Next time somebody jumps into your face and says, "Boooh! Gays are evil! You're going to Hell!" this is what you ought to do. First of all, realize that anybody who seriously wanted to warn you of your sinfulness would certainly do it in a much kinder manner (their desire being to persuade you, after all). A jerk isn't trying to persuade you; he's simply being a jerk. Then, just remember that though being gay is not a choice, being a jerk IS. This person is being nasty, he (or she) has chosen to be nasty, and it's nobody else's fault but his own.

Conservatives need to grow a backbone about dealing with the bigots who hide behind them. Is it wrong for liberals to lump all conservatives together with bigots? Maybe so, but if those on the political and religious Right showed a little more gumption in dealing with those who shamelessly use their convictions as a prop to hide behind, perhaps such stereotyping would be less effective. Don't let dogs lie down with you, then complain that you've got an itch.

Let's start punishing those who choose to abuse others, and rewarding those who are nice. Nice people rule. What a great bumper-sticker THAT would make!

Saturday, April 08, 2006

The BIBLE?! Whazzat?

The most pathetic thing about ignorant people is that they think they're bloody geniuses. Every so often, on gay blogs that are conservative either religiously or politically, you come upon the comment of some self-important troll who's dumped off a Bible verse condemning "homosexuality."

Oh, duhhhh...the Bible! Who'da thunk o' lookin' in there?

Does it never occur to these morons that a great many gay people have read the Bible, too?

Given the general ugliness of their behavior, one would be on just as solid a footing to assume that the Bible-verse-dumpers themselves need a good boning-up.

It has been my experience that gay Christians have faced the "clobber" passages of Scripture more squarely, thoroughly, honestly and relentlessly than anybody else. After all, WE'RE the ones who have to deal with the consequences of reading them the wrong way.

Most of those who use such verses to clobber us give little indication they've even bothered to look up the verses they're citing. To quote Romans Chapter 1, for example, as a condemnation of same-sex love is to contradict the rest of what the epistle says about the justification of ALL sinners by faith in Christ. Why bother to cite a book of Scripture if you disagree with it? It's quite obvious, in dealing with these people, that most of 'em have never bothered to give the issue so much as ten minutes' serious thought.

This Blog is not going to mollycoddle stupid conservatives. I refuse to perform triple-backflips to prove to anybody that I'm a good enough Christian Amurricun to be trustworthy. I've had enough experience with people, in my forty-three years on this earth, to know that most decent folks will give you the benefit of a doubt, and that most of those so gung-ho about rushing to judgment are losers, liars, cowards and pathetic excuses for human beings. They concentrate on criticizing other people because their own behavior is so subpar they feel the need to divert attention to somebody else's.

Let me direct you to a passage with which they are clearly unfamiliar. Look up Luke 6:41-42. The very best (and only truly effective) means of providing moral guidance to others is BY EXAMPLE. No real mystery as to why this sort of "Christian" never attempts that!

Tell you what, Bible-verse-dropping trolls. Go to a gay or gay-friendly church and MEET WITH US FACE-TO-FACE if you've got issues with us (We keep inviting them to do that, but they keep not showing up). If you don't want me to think you're just some loser who hates the fact that I've had more girlfriends than you have, then prove it. I think you're the religious equivalent of a chickenhawk. Why don't you make my day and prove me wrong?

You can't, of course. Which is why you won't.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The "A" Game for Homophobes

If all the "gay marriage leads to polygamy" rhetoric continues, then let's just face it right here and now: the homophobes have won.

They have brought their "A" Game: the game they know they can win. If they can keep gays and lesbians on the defensive -- doing triple-backflips to "prove" same-sex marriage will never-never-ever-ever-EVER lead us down that supposedly slippery slope to legalized polygamy, then we will never achieve any sort of widespread recognition of our marriage rights. Why? Well, think about in the world could we ever decisively prove that once same-sex marriage is legal, polygamy won't ever be legalized, too?

There simply is no way we could ever prove such a thing. Of course it is irrational to assume that if the rules regarding legal marriage were changed in one respect, they would automatically need to be changed in any other. The 'phobes argument here is so silly and childish that it has lulled us into refusing to take it seriously.

It doesn't matter how stupid an argument is, as long as large numbers of people can be made to believe it. This doesn't necessarily happen because everyone who buys into it is stupid, but merely because it's convenient for them to believe it.

Being expected to "prove" gay marriage will never lead to legalized polygamy is like being tried for wife-beating by a prosecutor who asks, "When was the last time you beat your wife?" You already look like a wife-beating brute, even if you've never laid so much as an angry finger on her. The bar has been set so high for us that we are bound to come crashing into it.

This is why we must NOT get suckered into trying to prove anything about polygamy. We simply don't know what will happen in the future. Though we can be pretty darned sure that, as long as women don't go back to being treated like chattel in this country, polygamous arrangements will never come back into popularity. There will simply never be enough of them, in the democratic West, for the legalization of polygamy even to rate serious consideration.

Slippery-slope arguments are nearly always absurd. They deliberately confuse changing the rules with having no rules at all. What those who advocate legal gay unions must do is TAKE THE OFFENSIVE instead of staying on defense.

The possibility that legalizing same-sex unions might lead to legalized polygamy is SO remote that nobody making a claim to that effect could possibly defend it. And if we began expecting those who bring that claim against us to try defending it, that would quickly and decisively become apparent. As it is right now, they are largely getting away with their crazy claim because because they brazenly keep making it -- while the defenders of same-sex marriage keep backing apologetically away.

The best way to show what fools the anti-gay-marriage crowd are making of themselves is just to wind 'em up and let 'em go. When they say (for the four hundred and fifty-thousandth time) that gay marriage will "inevitably" lead to polygamy, the most effective response is to say, "Oh, really? And HOW?" The more they try to explain themselves, the more utterly ridiculous they will sound.

If polygamy ever does become legal in America, it will be the very same crowd that persecutes gays who will have been responsible for it. They're not just trying to make life miserable for gays and lesbians. They are doing everything they can to bring about the sort of society in which polygamy might flourish. It is they -- NOT gays or lesbians -- who are trying to set the dial back to a time when women were economically dependent upon men, and therefore in a perpetual state of comparative vulnerability. If the Religious Right achieves all of its goals, it is then -- and ONLY then -- that legalized polygamy might become more than just a blip on the radar-screen.

They deserve to be on the defensive. And it's high time we put 'em there.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Our Ten Seconds of Fame

Well, I just watched four local newscasts, skipping frantically back and forth from one to another in search of any coverage of Phoenix Pride.

Only one of the four mentioned it at all. And their "coverage" lasted all of ten seconds.

The bright-and-perky info-babe stayed frozen in a chipper Botox smile as she introduced The Topic. Then off to a clip of the festivities.

What they showed was a group of gender-indeterminate young people with spiky hair, arms intertwined and beers in hand. Followed by a shot of two very-white, shirtless men, wearing gigantic 'fro wigs. Followed by a general crowd scene, then on -- as fast as possible -- to the next segment.

Not one word about the parade, which organizers have said they expected to be the largest parade ever (of ANY kind) in Arizona. No Tinkerbell or Leather Dykes, but no bankers, realtors, insurance agents or singers in a church choir, either.

They've been criticized for showing all the loonies year after year, so the brief portrayal this time was more restrained. They still can't bring themselves, however, to show mundane-looking gay folks. Three of the stations chickened out of showing anything at all, and the one that did took as little risk as possible.

The gays don't like it when only the whackies are shown, and the bigots can't stand it when the existence of normal gay people is acknowledged. The sorry excuses for journalists in this town are just plain cowards.

This won't change until we make it change. We'd get plenty of flak for it even within what is so euphemistically referred to as "the community," but I think it really IS time for the Normal Majority to assert itself.

If not, then we'd all just better fasten our seatbelts. The next couple of years, politically, are gonna be a bumpy ride.

Tough Talk and Hot Air

So now that Jill Carroll, the freelancer writing for The Christian Science Monitor who was taken captive by Islamists, is free, where are her accusers? You remember them: all those self-righteous and more-patriotic-than-thou Right-Wing pundits who condemned her as a "spoiled brat" and an "America hater."

Typical conservative bravado, from a bunch of candy-pants sitting safely and comfortably in their ivory towers. Cooler heads warned us that perhaps we ought to wait until the young lady was freed to be sure we'd heard everything she had to say on the matter. But the chickenhawks couldn't be expected to wait for that! No, they're sooooo patriotic...they love America sooooo much...that they had to think first of -- their ideological agenda! How could we possibly expect otherwise?

Do I think much of people who trek over to a war zone (determined to feel the pain of the oppressed from as close a range as possible), get abducted by Islamofascist monsters, get rescued and then -- once safe in the arms of the U.S. military -- gracelessly refuse to thank the brave souls who helped them get out of harm's way? I should say not. Was this what happened here? It's looking less and less like it.

Ms. Carroll now informs us that three men with machine guns forced her to make her videotaped statement that all was well and she was unmenaced. Too bad we can't put every one of her critics in front of a similar impromptu firing-squad and find out just what brave patriots they REALLY are. Would not their Studley Do-Right proclamations of all-American gung-ho be inspiring? But of course if they had any gumption to begin with, these pathetic excuses for manhood would have been over there in the first place -- in uniform -- where they belong.

Plenty of girls much younger than Jill Carroll are over there doing their fighting for them.