C I V I L    M A R R I A G E    I S    A    C I V I L    R I G H T.

A N D N O W I T ' S T H E L A W O F T H E L A N D.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Lovelight: Just to Be Your Man

Hope all my truckbuddies have a hot man to snuggle up to on this cold winter night.  Goodnight guys, and sweet dreams.

Forget Uganda, Send American Gays to the Slammer

Inmate reading bible

What a lovely thought for Sunday.  As Joe.My.God and TWO have reported today, American Family Association radio host Bryan Fischer says all teh nasty gayz in America should be rounded up and sent to prison, where they can be turned into good, obedient heterosexuals:
If you believe that what drug abusers need is to go into an effective detox program, then we should likewise put active homosexuals through an effective reparative therapy program. Secondly, I'm afraid you're simply wrong about the Bible's perspective on the law and homosexuality. Paul lists quite explicitly in 1 Timothy 1:8-11 the actions and behaviors that are the proper concern of the law:

Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality*, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine...
The bottom line here is that, biblically, those "who practice homosexuality" should come under the purview of the law just as much as those who take people captive in order to sell them into slavery. You express a belief in the Scriptures, and I trust your confidence in Scripture is not selective. If you believe all Scripture is inspired, then you are compelled to accept that legal sanctions may appropriately be applied to those who engage in homosexual behavior.
The Bible says!

Of course, this is a scared-shitless straight boy's fantasy of what the duties of Christianity are.  You notice he doesn't quote the other passages of the Bible that say things like "you must love your neighbor as yourself."  Hmm.  I wonder what kind of "reparative therapy" he'd enjoy the most.

As usual, Joe clinches the story with a bullseye:
Remember folks, the Christianist right is not about hatred and bigotry. It's about the gentle redemptive love of Jesus, forced upon you at the barrel of a gun in prison as they beat the gay out of you.

* - "Homosexuality" is a word first coined in 1869, in Germany. No such word appears in the original Hebrew or Greek scriptures; but a number of recent translations have paraphrased the original texts and inserted this anachronistic word instead. In my view, that doesn't alter the fact that the Bible writers were uniformly hostile to same-sex love, but it's important to get our facts right.

Sunday Drive: Abide With Me

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Obama Got Game

From Mediaite:

Duke v GeorgetownPresident Barack Obama attended a college basketball game between Duke and George-town today, and found time to sit down with the CBS Broadcast announcing team Verne Lundquist and Clark Kellogg.

After showing a clip of the left-handed Obama playing basketball, Lundquist asked the president if he "has any problems going to (his) right."

Obama replied "I went to the Republican House caucus just yesterday to prove I could go to my right once in awhile, but there's no doubt I have a stronger left hand."  Zing!

Honk to Pam's House Blend

Don't Kill the Gays - They're Human!

The Capitol at nighttime, Washington, DC

The Human Rights Campaign has come in for a lot of criticism lately, for being supposedly elitist and ineffective.  Well, I don't know about all that; I joined a few years ago but I've not really sat down and analyzed all they do.

What I do know is, it's always good to have some folks who are actually present in the halls of Congress, actively lobbying legislators for a good cause, and reminding them of other voices, other interests besides their own.  And one thing HRC does do well is make it easy to send a shout out to all my Texas congresspeeps and senators with just one press of a button.

So it is that I'm on the return-mailing list of them all - and they're all Republicans, natch.  Usually I just delete their silly newsletters and such without bothering to read them; but today I got this uncharacteristically intelligent mailing from one representative, who happens to have a 90+ percent rating from Conservative Union:
Currently, in the country of Uganda, homosexuality is illegal and punishable by a life sentence in prison. It is considered under their penal code to be "carnal knowledge against the order of nature." However, a new piece of legislation has been proposed that would increase the punishment from a life sentence to a death sentence. It would also make it criminal to discuss homosexuality in public, and even make it illegal to rent property to someone who is openly homosexual.

Regardless of one's view about the morality of sexual orientation, I will never support a measure that would impose a nation-wide death sentence for one's sexuality. Further, I believe that is a direct violation of human rights, and the United States is one of several nations who have called on the Ugandan government to disregard the proposed bill all together. As we continue to monitor this issue, rest assured that I will keep your thoughts in mind.
Huh. Well you see boys, there's always hope.  Even some Republicans can indeed have a spark of human kindness, of human decency within them.

Even if it does mean violating Biblical principles. Because of course, Leviticus does in fact mandate killing the gays.

But if even a dyed-in-the-wool (no linen!  not even polyester!) Texas Republican can see that it's time now to move on from a primitive 3,000-year-old moral stricture, well - maybe there is hope for the world, after all.

Afternoon Drive: It Feels So Good

Y'all have a good one, see you down the road.

Sex and Starvation in South Carolina

A friend brought this Jon Stewart clip to my attention.  Priceless.  And so true.

You Yankee fellas think it's Alabama and Mississippi that are the center of racism, reactionary thinking, and fundamentalism.  Not so.  It's South Carolina, hands down.  There's a reason they were the first state to secede from the Union.  I know, I've lived there - very briefly, thank God.

Wanting and Needing

The President attended the GOP Issues Conference today in Baltimore:  as Sullivan aptly says, going "into the lions' den."  Above are his opening remarks, and I wish you would listen to them and take note of the calm, reasonable, conciliatory tone:  pleading in a dignified way, without begging or unctuousness, for the good-faith cooperation and compromise that are quintessential to the workings of a little-d democracy, a little-r republic.  The video of the question and answer session that followed is here; or read the full transcript here.

At this point, after all the puerile assininity and screeching inanity of the past year, your Head Trucker's instinct would have been to arrive for the SOTU blasting away like Yosemite Sam:  All right you sonsabitches, sit down and shaddup while I tell you how it's gonna be around here . . .

And naturally, they would have taken my head off before I ever got out of the building.  Grin.  So it's really all for the best that it's not my job, you see.

Obama is a much cooler head.  Unflappable is the word that comes to mind.  All these things we've talked about here in the Blue Truck, he's aware of them.  (The other day, the President mentioned to an interviewer that Andrew Sullivan's blog is something he often reads, a fact which Sullivan was proud to mention, as I would be too.)  Obama knows what pigheaded stuff the Republicans and the Christianists and the teabaggers and all the other naysayers are doing and saying, the vile personal attacks as well as the totally goofball communist-muslim-atheist-fascist claims about his agenda.

And yet, after all that and after a whole year of obstinate stonewalling and sabotage by the other party, he still remains unruffled:  steady and certain in his progress towards the goals he set for his administration, however halting the advance, or how slow the ascent.

And no one can watch him speak as he has this week without realizing that this is an honest man; a decent man; a man of principle, not politics; who measures his words and chooses his actions according to an inner moral compass, not the shifting winds of public opinion or political opportunity.  For the most part, I mean:  a morally decent man, not a perfect man.  But what an enormous contrast with his immediate predecessor, whose every public utterance seemed to be spinning a yarn:  the entrancing spiel of a snake-oil salesman.  Remember?

It's the difference, I think, between warping reality to conform to a predetermined belief; and seeing reality clearly, the world as it is, and constructing a logical, workable plan to fix what is broken, and right what is wrong.  Or to put it another way:  the contrast between a rabbit's foot and a working compass, a four-leaf clover and a navigation chart.

It's not that I think Obama can do no wrong, or is infallible in judgment, not at all.  He's a man, like you and me, and therefore by definition another flawed and fallible human being like anyone else.  And as I've blogged here in the Blue Truck any number of times already, I have been disappointed, sometimes bitterly so, with his failure to live up to the tone, if not the letter, of his campaign promises to the LGBT community.  But despite all our failed expectations of him, we have to admit that he has demonstrated both by word and deed that he does indeed respect our community, and respects us as people, as fellow Americans - as his remarks in the SOTU address reveal, which I have already noted in other recent posts.

If you doubt this, brother, just stop for one ten seconds and recall to mind the hateful words and deeds of his predecessor, and of all that ilk, when it came to us queer folks, and I think you'll realize the unmistakeable difference.

And I'm coming to realize that perhaps Obama does know what he's doing, after all; or at least, that he is pursuing the most reasonable and most necessary course of action as President, according to a well-thought-out list of priorities.  Perhaps his seeming delay on advancing the issues we feel most acutely is not due to prevarication or lack of concern; perhaps he simply sees the bigger picture, the greater need to handle first things first, and do the greatest good for the greatest number.

Maybe, just maybe, like a good general, he sees more clearly than we do the need to reserve his main force to defend against the major thrust of the other side, and for now is leaving us to defend our outposts as best we can and wait for reinforcements later, when the tide of battle has turned.

I'm not a military man, so I'd best not carry that analogy any further.  But what I can say with assurance is that I am continually reminded of, and refreshed by, the President's manifest intelligence, goodwill, and good sense.  As well as his simple moral goodness.  For all the hoorah about the color of his skin and his multicultural family, I see what some others overlook:  the small-town, middle-class Kansas boy, not so very different from the small-town, middle-class Southern boys I grew up with:  a decent guy, a good friend, smart yes but humble also, where it counts.  He may have lived in some exotic places, and grown up in Hawaii; but I see the deep legacy of his grandparents in him, the solid heritage of hardworking, unassuming, neighborly Midwestern values.  Just look at these pictures, and see how much Obama resembles his American grandfather, Stanley Dunham:

The kind of people who roll out of bed every morning and march off to work, rain or shine, early to bed and early to rise; who do what needs to be done without having to be told, people you can trust, you can count on to do the right thing, and usually in a pleasant, courteous way:  the small-town types who just get on with it, quietly, methodically, without complaint, without drama.  People who count the cost, who save for a rainy day, who number their priorities and get their ducks in a row.  Methodical, dependable, and quietly determined to succeed, even if it takes a long time.  The solid American personality, the can-do, not-a-quitter type that prevails in the end. 

There are some limitations to that kind of personality, which can get bogged down in workaday details and local prejudices; but when coupled with a brilliant mind and unfettered imagination, those types can transcend all that and reach the mountaintops.

Maybe Obama is not all we hoped, not all we wanted him to be.  But maybe, it seems to me, just maybe he is indeed what we really need at this point in the nation's life:  a calm, steady hand at the wheel, judicious and thrifty of motion, calling and recalling all of us to reconciliation and common purpose - asking us time and again, with great forebearance, to see things as they really are.  Asking us, with all humility, to trust and follow - and fret not.

Who else can we follow?  Who else can lead this nation out of the mire and muck it was left in by the previous administration?  Who else is there to trust, really?  Just think about that for a minute.

Despite all the disappointments and setbacks for us gay people in the past year - and I feel them as sharply as anyone - perhaps we too, as well as the opposition party, need to pause, reflect, and look at the bigger picture.  Perhaps both sides need to listen to the call to be one united people.  Perhaps we all are guilty of straining at the gnat and swallowing the camel - to our peril.

Because, as Sullivan puts it,
it is the collapse of any desire for the common good, the evaporation of civic virtue that is our problem. No leader can save us from that. Only we can.
Athenian democracy flared up for a moment in history like a glorious flame, but was snuffed out by foolish internecine warfare and the lust for empire, despite the pleas and advice of good rulers and wise men.  The Roman republic expired in civil conflict and was succeeded by a long line of absolute rulers who kept the forms but not the spirit of a republic, and reduced the free citizenry to servile spectators; as Gibbon famously wrote of the Roman people in the prosperous age of the Antonine emperors, outwardly the empire was flourishing, but in their hearts it had withered away.

When the yet to be completed annals of the American experiment are written, what will be said about us, our spirit, our character, at this point in the story?   Here, still at the dawn of the third milennium, in the third century of our own republic, we are at a momentous turning point, I feel.  But when the chroniclers of the future come to write about the American people at this juncture, which way will they say we turned?

Friday, January 29, 2010

Wintry Mix

Pine Grove Virginia

Rain and snow this morning transitioning to snow showers for the afternoon.  Cold.  Temps nearly steady in the low to mid 30s.  Winds NNW at 10 to 20 mph.  Snow accumulating 1 to 3 inches.  Chance of precipitation:  100%.
Damn.  And I have to go to work in this mess.  Sure wish I could come home to find some young, hairy stud stirring up a mess of Southern Pot Roast.

I'd be so totally grateful, I'd just love him till he couldn't stand it no more.

Obama Responds to Gay Marriage Question

Ever the cautious card player, he doesn't actually answer the question directly.  But he does make a direct connection between this passage from last night's address and the "right thing to do" for gay Americans:
We abide by the notion that all are created equal, no matter who you are or what you look like. If you abide by the law, you should be protected by it. If you adhere to our common values, you should be treated no different than anyone else.

I suspected that was an oblique reference to the LGBT community; and now we have it from the horse's mouth, so to speak.  Though of course, it applies not just to us, but to all Americans.

At least while the Republic lasts.

The Courage of Her Convictions

You should go read Joe's post about Zelda Rubinstein, who just died at age 76:

I never lived in Los Angeles, but I remember seeing those ads; probably in the Advocate or some other, more pictorial (ahem!) magazines back then.

Never knew anything about Zelda, but what a sweetheart she was.  And even though her career took a big hit, totally unafraid to do the right thing.  Bless her, and God rest her soul.

Which does remind me of my own mother's character:  and perhaps she instilled in me some of that moral courage, which is much more rare than the physical kind.  And therefore more worthy of our praise.

Today's Grin

From the New Yorker, January 8, 2010

Republic or Empire: If We Don't Fight, Who Will?

In addition to my earlier reflections on the President's State of the Union address, I was also struck by the spectacle of a third or more of our elected representatives sitting on their hands throughout the speech, refusing to applaud even the most nonpartisan points of the speech, or indeed even to acknowledge the President's courteous and sometimes humorous attempts to reach out to them.

I heard the TV commenters point out at the beginning of the event that the Republicans had been strictly charged by their party leaders aforehand that there were to be no Joe Wilson outbursts on this dignified (well, dignified for U.S. politics) occasion.  Well and good.  Even so, as the camera panned across row after row after row of silent but accusatory faces with gleaming eyes, it was hard to evade the thought of a wolf pack held momentarily at bay.  Silent, disdainful - and hungry for blood.  Hardened warriors ready for battle, eager to storm the ramparts.

A chilling scene at the heart of our republic.  And those faces were nearly all white, and nearly all male.  The kind that were the big jocks in school.  There were noticeably more women and more people of color on the Democrat side of the aisle.

The juvenile, assinine quibbling over which justice or general applauded or screwed up his face during the address is not worth commenting on, and misses the much more important point of a government brought nearly to a standstill by a reactionary minority party, convinced beyond a shadow of self-doubt of its own divine mandate, not merely to rule but to conquer.  Sullivan reflects further on Obama's character, and the looming peril facing the nation at this critical juncture in its history:
My foreboding sense is that America may have already passed the point of no return in terms of civil, constitutional governance. I do not believe that in the Bush administration, the United States was effectively governed by its Constitution. The forms were still there, but the reality wasn't. Beneath it all, the desire for despotism ran, fueled by the despot's greatest ally, fear. Fear of foreigners, fear of terrorists, fear of gays, fear of immigrants, fear of the inevitable uncertainties of real reform.

It was entrenched by the military's own embrace of the role of imperial adventure, by the CIA's embrace of torture, by the president's assertion of total, extra-legal power in a never-ending war that now encompassed the US as well as abroad and citizens alongside non-citizens, and by a resurgent, right-wing partisan media that saw its job as fomenting propaganda rather than seeking any kind of truth, and liberal mainstream media so afraid of its own shadow and so intimidated by accusations of elitism that it became the equivalent of Harry Reid. . . .

So this fever feels to me like either the kind that precedes the final death of this republic into a carnival of FNC-directed war and debt and drama led by charismatic media-emperors or empresses - or the fever that finally ends the sickness, and restores some sense of civic responsibility and republican virtue. Last night, I saw one of the few men left able to see the depth of the crisis and not lose faith in this country's ability to overcome it. My faith in this country - so strong in the past - is not as strong as Obama's now.

But I sure as hell believe in fighting for it, and for him, against the forces at home and abroad that would truly end this experiment in self-government while pretending, of course, that everything is exactly the same. I believe our crisis is deeper than many now believe - because it is not just a crisis of economics, of debt, of over-reach, of an empire now running on its own steam and unstoppable by any political force, but because it is a crisis of civic virtue, a collapse of the good faith and serious, reasoned attention to problems that marks the distinction between a republic and a bread-and-circuses Ailes-Rove imperium.

Those, in my view, are the stakes. Are you ready to get back into the arena and fight? And if you don't, who will?
Sullivan also responds to this inane remark:
"Umm, what was that Abu Ghraib scandal all about? It started out as misconduct between men and women and then it steadily deteriorated into abuse of prisoners. The common denominator is lack of discipline. Once you break down discipline, good order and discipline and morale, everything that’s required for unit cohesion, you undermine the culture and the strength of the armed forces," - Elaine Donnelly, in an "argument" against gays in the military.

At this point, you realize that they really do live in an alternate reality, immune to evidence, hostile to reason. The Abu Ghraib scandal was about the torture and abuse techniques authorized by Bush and Cheney and supported by the vast majority of Republicans actually being photographed and documented. It was an example of what happens when a president unleashes torture in wartime as a legitimate tool. That it could be used to argue against allowing many servicemembers to serve their country without being persecuted for it is simply gob-smacking.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

"All Hat and No Cattle": Shannon Minter Sums Up the Perry Case

From Pam's House Blend, a summation by Shannon Minter of the historic testimony in the Perry case, now in recess while the judge reviews all the evidence:
It has been an amazing two and a half weeks. This trial has been a truly historic moment for our community. It is the first time a federal court has heard, first hand, from real live witnesses, about the harm that the denial of marriage equality causes lesbians, gay men and their families every day. It's also the first time a federal court has heard the arguments in favor of marriage equality presented live in court by an array of internationally renowned scholars who are truly experts in their respective fields.

What stands out the most after having seen all the witnesses on both sides is how overwhelmingly one-sided the evidence in this case turned out to be. The plaintiffs, represented by some of the most skilled attorneys in the country, laid out a well-crafted, meticulous case, backed by the testimony of half a dozen of the most respected historians, psychologists, economists, and political scientists who study marriage, sexual orientation, and child development. Using the Prop 8 proponents' own outrageous and inflammatory words, ads, and emails, the plaintiffs powerfully demonstrated that Prop 8 was a direct product of hostility, fear-mongering, and demonization of lesbians and gay men. And through the deeply moving testimony of the plaintiffs and other members of our community, they proved beyond question that denying same-sex couples the right to marry causes great harm to LGBT people and their children.

Stacked up against this mountain of facts, scholarship, and science, the Prop 8 proponents - though represented by fine attorneys - were not able to come forward with a case of their own. Before trial, they dropped nearly every witness they had planned to present and relied entirely on two poorly qualified, ill-prepared expert witnesses, neither of whom was able to establish that banning same-sex couples from getting married has any rational or legitimate purpose relating to procreation, child rearing, tradition, or any of the other justifications that have been offered in the past in support of anti-gay discrimination. In fact, nearly all of the defendants' experts agreed with the plaintiffs that marriage equality would benefit same-sex couples and their families in many real, tangible ways.

It should not have come as a surprise that the defense's case turned out to be so weak. As our executive director Kate Kendell is fond of saying, the arguments against marriage equality have always been "all hat and no cattle." This trial showed more powerfully than ever that there truly is no substance to the arguments of those who would deny equality to our families. It has been extremely gratifying to see those arguments aired out in public, before a smart, independent-minded judge, in a way that's never been done before.
Minter, a transman and fellow Texan - from Sulphur Springs - was the lead attorney in the Marriage Cases ruling in 2008, in which the California Supreme Court held that same-sex couples were entitled to marriage as a fundamental right.

Bonus:  Joe Jervis quotes Maggie Gallagher's whining letter to the judge in the Perry case, complaining that
Our case for Proposition 8 has been deeply harmed. The public record has been impoverished and the information available to reviewing courts permanently reduced all because some witnesses feared retaliation as a result of the publicity.
Imagine that.  The swarming homos are bringing Western Civilization, and probably all human life on the planet, to a crashing end, and still they lack the courage of their convictions?  Observes Joe, with a snicker:
She is pre-arranging her victim status for her post-decision speaking tour. Delicious.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Gosh Darn It, Why Didn't I Think of That?

Love this quote from one of Sullivan's readers:
He's found his inner George Bailey.
The more I think about it, the more I see the parallel.

More insightful quotes here.

The State of the Union, 2010

President Obama Delivers State Of The Union Address9:24 p.m., Texas time: some reflections on what I particularly noted in the President's address to Congress, which he just concluded. The New York Times has the full text here; curiously enough, I couldn't find it at whitehouse.gov.

First of all, listening to him speak so honestly and directly, so clearly and rationally, well, I have to tell you, boys - I felt some of that thrill once more that I felt on Election Night, 2008, and on Inauguration Day last year.  And I thanked God once again that we have such a brilliant, eloquent, and thoroughly admirable man as our President; someone to be proud of, very proud, down the long annals of American history.

Now you fellas know I have at times been critical of Mr. Obama's words and deeds, or the lack thereof, in this past year, and I'll continue to criticize when and where I think it deserved.  But that's my privilege as an American, which I bought with my vote; and it's your privilege too, under a free government ruled by laws, not men.

Overall, I thought it was a very good speech; could have been a little more fiery, but the tone seemed noticeably more assertive than in some speeches.  A couple of deadpan-humor lines I appreciated:

To Congress, on working together:  "Let's use common sense.  A novel idea." 

Another laugh line, about the bank bailout:  "I hated it.  You hated it.  It was about as popular as a root canal."

After speaking about American efforts to help Haiti, and support people in other countries:  "America must always stand on the side of freedom and human dignity."

"We abide by the notion that all are created equal, no matter who you are or what you look like.  If you abide by the law, you should be protected by it.  If you adhere to our common values, you should be treated no different than anyone else."

"Our administration has had some setbacks in the past year, some of them deserved; but nothing compared to what many families are going through.  What keeps me going is knowing that the spirit of determination and optimism, the fundamental decency at the core of the American people lives on."

I especially like the vigor of his concluding words, delivered with some of that old fired-up, ready-to-go spirit he showed in the campaign:

"We have finished a difficult year.  We have come through a difficult decade.  But a new year has come.  A new decade stretches before us.  We don't quit.  I don't quit.  Let's seize this moment - to start anew, to carry the dream forward, and to strengthen our union once more."

A couple of surprises, for me anyway:  he plans to get more nuclear plants built.  I know there's always a risk with that, but how else can we realistically meet the nation's energy needs?

And he wants legislation to forgive your student loans after 20 years, 10 if you go into some unspecified "public service" jobs; and he wants to end the privileged (or should I say bloodsucking) role of banks in giving student loans (I well remember the sons of bitches charged me 9 percent on mine) and to increase Pell Grants, which in my day were called Basic Grants; and increase every household's tax credit for college education:  "no one should go broke because they chose to go to college."  A-fucking-men to that. 

And of course I applauded when he said, "This year, I will work with Congress and the military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are.  Because it's the right thing to do." 

Oh my God, I have lived to see this day:  not only did the President of the United States mention gay people in his State of the Union address, he also openly acknowledged their human worth as well as their patriotism.  You young'uns under 40 cannot know how thrilling, how deeply moving that is for us guys who vividly remember an America where the word "homosexual" was damn near unpronounceable - almost always spoken, if at all, in a low whisper by straight people:  an ugly, repellent, shameful thought.

As I quoted from Andrew Sullivan the other day, it behooves us even in the midst of our struggles for equal rights, always to be "insanely happy" that we are living at one of the rare periods in human history when being gay is not a ticket to the gallows or the stake.

But back to the President's address:  I was disappointed that he did not speak more forcefully about getting healthcare reform passed, specifically, though he did call for the parties to keep working to pass the legislation.  But I did appreciate very much his acknowledging that Americans are fed up with the totally irresponsible behavior of banks, corporations, the media, and Congress.  And I liked very much that he took both parties to task: 
To Democrats, I would remind you that we have the largest majority in decades, and the people expect us to solve some problems, not run for the hills. And if the Republican leadership is going to insist that sixty votes in the Senate are required to do any business at all in this town, then the responsibility to govern is now yours as well. Just saying no to everything may be good short-term politics, but it's not leadership. We were sent here to serve our citizens, not our ambitions.
All I could think was, my God:  an adult in the house.  Finally.  A responsible parent.  Or at least, a fair but firm schoolmaster. 

Well, God bless him.  What a helluva tough job he has, made doubly or triply worse - as he reminded the audience - by the financial and military mess made by his predecessor.

And though I reserve the right to criticize, I did ask myself:  if it were me, standing at that podium in his place, just what in the world would I do, what could I do, that would be a bit better?

I had to admit - not a damn thing.  Because the task is beyond my powers and above my comprehension in many ways.

But I do believe Obama is up to the task.  Certainly much more, way much more than his predecessor, for which we can all thank God heartily.  Obama acknowledged tonight that he has made some mistakes in the past year, and no doubt, being human, he will make some more.

But fellas - when all is said and done, I still have hope for this country as long as Obama is in the White House.  And I am still so damn proud that this intelligent, moral, compassionate guy, this thoroughly decent man, is my President.

You should be too.

Waitin' for the Weekend

Now repeat after me:  masturbation is a sin, masturbation is a sin . . . .

Today's Quote: Is Masturbation Natural?

I speak only for males here but Shaw was certainly right in saying that 99 percent of men masturbate and 1 percent are liars. . . .

Nature is an elastic concept. The Church's grasp of it remains umbilically linked to the biology of the thirteenth century. And its allegedly celibate clerisy is the only group allowed to examine it. Hence what most adult, intelligent human beings regard as the hilarity of the hierarchy's claptrap. And hence too the impossibility of actually changing it.

So we continue to live in the late Soviet period of Catholicism. They pretend to make sense; we pretend to believe them.
Image from Wikimedia Commons:  1903 patent drawing of a male chastity device that used spikes, alarm bells, and electric shocks to prevent masturbation and nocturnal emissions.

Dayyum . . . sounds like fun, don't it?

DADT: It's Cost Us How Much?

Symbolic Tribute Protests

There's been widespread speculation on the gay blogs about whether the President will or will not say something, from a passing reference to a major policy statement, about Don't Ask, Don't Tell in his State of the Union Speech tonight - which btw, begins at 9 p.m. Eastern.

Obviously, nobody has a clue about what he's really going to say on this subject, if anything.  But regardless, here's the latest figures (pdf file) from the UCLA Williams Institute on gays in the military, and what it's costing you and me to keep kicking the queers out:
An estimated 66,000 lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals are serving in the US military, accounting for approximately 2.2% of military personnel.

Lifting DADT restrictions could attract an estimated 36,700 men and women to active duty service along with 12,000 more individuals to the guard and reserve.

Since its inception in 1994, the “Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell” policy has cost the military between $290 million and more than a half a billion dollars.
Your tax dollars at work.

Honk to Liz Newcomb, Americablog Gay.

FYI:  The study linked to above is based on a 2008 estimate of the LGB population in this country:  3.3% of men and 5.2% of women.

Which is different from a 2004 study estimating 4% of men, and 3% of women.  Read the Data and Methodology section of the report for more background on these numbers.

This Wikipedia article explains the difficulties involved in determining reliable figures.  But any way you slice it, though we number in the millions, we're still a very small percentage of the general population.

As Sullivan put it a few weeks back, talking about the kill-the-gays-bill in Uganda:  "What the Jews were to the right in the 1920s, the gays are in the 2010s. Unpleasant, dispensable, and if possible, wiped out."

And for your further information:  Jews as a percentage of the population of the United States, 2006:  2.2%.

Jewish population of Nazi Germany in 1933:  0.75%.

The Zombie Occupied Party

Excerpts from a great interview with the ballsy, brilliant Max Blumenthal, author of Republican Gomorrah; go read the whole thing, you'll find it very enlightening, I think.

But first, a caveat:  Max is drawing conclusions based on anecdotal evidence.  Not everything he says necessarily applies to every single Republican or Christian believer.  (There are still a few moderates here and there who haven't yet been burnt at the stake, you know.)  But for a great many, yes, I think so.  I have observed this same thing with my own eyes on a local and personal level.

But do keep in mind that the "authoritarian personality" and its longing to be swept up in a grand, glorious bigger-than-life movement can also happen just as well to people on the left of the political spectrum.  And has - if you'll just stop and remember some history.

Anyway, here's Max talking about the GOP ZOP:
I covered this movement [the religious right] for six years, and in covering it I met just dozens and dozens of followers, leaders and activists who told me that they had had some terrible thing happen to them in the past that they blamed themselves for. Junk — you know, alcoholism, some family crisis, sexual abuse, sex addiction, pornography addiction, drug addiction — you name it. And they confessed this to me unprompted, without me even asking about it. And I wanted to understand what it was that connected all these people together — why there seemed to be a common thread throughout the movement.

I came across Erich Fromm’s book, Escape From Freedom — which he wrote in 1941 as a warning to Americans after fleeing from Nazi Germany and watching the rise of an authoritarian movement in a democratic society. And what he said was the peril stems from people who can’t handle the pressures of freedom, who can’t handle the anxiety and pressure of exercising their free will in an open society. Often they will succumb to that pressure. They will become self-destructive, and they will seek what he calls the neurotic solutions, which is flocking to an authoritarian structure or an authoritarian leader to basically control them and help them reorder their lives.

And that’s what so many people on the Christian right told me. And if they did what they wanted to do, they would basically go crazy and do anything up to man-on-dog sex. But when they did what God wanted them to do — you know, God as translated to them through James Dobson — they could put their lives back together. Fromm helped me articulate what I was seeing on the Christian right, which was a culture of personal crisis that animates the politics of resentment.

BuzzFlash:  How does an individual, personal crisis animate the politics of resentment? What’s the tie between the two?

Max Blumenthal:  When you believe that when you do what you want to do, you can’t moderate your own behavior, and you’re destroying your life — you’re self-destructive — for whatever reason, you seek to dissolve the self, what you think is the source of your problems.

For example, if you’re ashamed of the fact that you’re gay, and you live in a community where homosexuality is looked down upon, you blame yourself. And you seek to dissolve the self in a glorious holy cause that’s bigger than you. And in giving away the self, you give yourself over to a strong authoritarian leader like James Dobson.

The story of Christ as depicted in Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ — and it’s depicted in every Mel Gibson movie; Mel Gibson is the top propagandist — is really the same. Iconically, at the end of each movie, the protagonist has his body torn apart while he’s screaming “freedom.” He’s transcending his own body, this vessel of shame and sin, and moving on to a higher plane, and becoming part of this glorious cause, becoming a symbol of it.

That’s the goal of so many of the men of the Christian right. It’s why Mark Sanford, for example, when he confessed his affair with his Latina lover in a nationally televised press conference, said the reason why he followed God’s law is to restrain himself from the self. It’s like John Ensign, the only Pentecostal senator in the Senate, a far right-wing legislator from Nevada — well, what happened in Vegas didn’t stay in Vegas. His affair was revealed with a staffer he’d been paying hush money to. He wrote her a letter and he said, “The reason why I did this with you is I walked away from God.” In other words, “I did what I wanted to do.”

Sarah Palin, in her autobiography, Going Rogue, says you have to give your life over to God and let God take over. In other words, give away yourself and let God take over control over your own life. This is a movement populated by people who believe that they have to give away their own individual will.

They give away the self to a higher leader, which is the essential mentality of an authoritarian follower. And the reason why they think that way, the reason why they want to give the self away, is they loathe what their individual will has made them do, and they feel that it will lead them to do, which is a sin. . . .

It’s only about 12 to 20 percent of the American voting public. But they must see themselves as [persecuted] early Christians in order to exercise their influence in a way that’s disproportionate to their numbers in order to energize the base, to energize the activists, to get them to be fervent politically: constantly running for school board elections, running for dog catcher, hammering in yard signs, leafleting church parking lots on Election Day. They have to believe that their very survival is at stake. . . .

But the movement that has control of the Republican Party . . . .  All they care about is ideological purity. Everyone who’s representing them in Congress thinks just like they do and is not representing on the parochial concerns of their district, but the dominionist agenda of the Christian right and the radical right.

So I would call the GOP the ZOP — instead of the Grand Old Party, it’s the Zombie Occupied Party. It has no ideas. It has no capacity for maneuvering on constituent concerns. It’s just like a zombie that’s lurching towards Obama and towards all the moderate Republicans and yelling, “Brains!” And eventually, it’ll eat itself alive.

However, and at the end of George Romerez’ Land of the Dead, the zombies figure out how to use guns. So if Barack Obama, the White House and the Democratic Congress don’t have an agenda of their own, the Zombie Occupied Party could do some serious damage. And they already have.

Haiti versus Katrina

 Hundreds Of Thousands Still Displaced As Recovery Efforts Continue In Haiti

Downtown Port-au-Prince suffered some of the worst damage in the city during the January 12th earthquake in Haiti

Alex Eichler in the Atlantic pulls together the conflicting views of the disaster, and American response to it, and shows that it may be a false comparison.

Hundreds Of Thousands Still Displaced As Recovery Efforts Continue In Haiti

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Even Canadians Have Pants on the Ground

Canadian politicians are no more dignified or high-minded than our own, it seems, as shown in this clip from the New Brunswick legislature:


If this doesn't make any sense to you, where have you been, son?  Here's the hilarious original that's been going around the blogosphere:

Reality Check: Parents and Children

It's always necessary to think carefully when discussing big issues, and avoid wishful thinking and sweeping generalizations.  Because what sometimes feels like truth isn't necessarily so.  Feelings are not facts.

For example, the SF Chronicle reports on today's Perry v. Schwarzenegger trial happenings:
The plaintiffs presented academic witnesses who said allowing gays and lesbians to marry would benefit the couples and their children and improve the status of marriage without affecting opposite-sex couples.

The ballot measure's defenders said it merely reaffirmed traditional marriage, but their chief witness for Prop. 8's benefits was [historian David] Blankenhorn, who has spent two decades arguing against same-sex marriage. His 1995 book, "Fatherless America," contended that attacks on the traditional family had weakened the bonds between fathers and children.

Scholars overwhelmingly agree, he testified Tuesday, that marriage is "a socially approved sexual relationship between a man and a woman" and that the "optimal environment" for children is with their married, biological parents.
Now look at that last statement:  it sure paints a pretty picture, doesn't it?  An Ozzie and Harriet, Leave It to Beaver, It's a Wonderful Life kind of world.  In fact, the kind of world, and family, that most of us probably wish we'd had when we were growing up.

But is it really true?  For all children?  With all biological parents?  Always?  Really?

Read these two news items and make up your own mind about what the reality of life is.

Father Kills Wife and Twins on Sons' Birthday

Susan Smith Wants New Trial for Killing Sons

Now, if these had been gay parents, oh can't you just imagine what the Christianists and the rightwingers would be saying about all that, and what it "proves" about gay people?

Different Strokes for Different Folks

Stroke 29 Rocket Fuel by Gun Oil

I used to have a certain admiration for the late Pope John Paul II as an indefatigable supporter of human rights in general, notwithstanding his also obvious support for the Catholic moral position on matters of sexuality.

But I can never forget the cold and cutting pronouncement he made in his last book, Memory and Identity, reported in the news media just a week or two after my husband's death, that same-sex marriage was an "ideology of evil."  Yes, two men and a little dog living quietly and peacefully in a little town far out on the prairie, working their jobs, serving the community, paying their taxes, attending church, buying groceries, doing all the very same things their neighbors did, day in and day out, were "objectively disordered" and "intrinsically evil," points he had already made in a letter to American bishops twenty years earlier. 

But now with my husband barely cold in the ground, I felt His Holiness's nasty, coldhearted, evil-minded words more acutely than ever before.  This was a man, it must be recalled, in a position of ultimate moral authority over more than a billion people; and for all his great intellect and wide experience, the best he could say about Cody and me is that we were evil, and promoting evil.  Really. 

Well now come to find out, as Sullivan and others have reported, the late Pontiff
whipped himself with a belt, even on vacation, and slept on the floor as acts of penitence and to bring him closer to Christian perfection, according to a new book by the Polish prelate spearheading his sainthood case...

"It's an instrument of Christian perfection," Oder said, responding to questions about how such a practice could be condoned considering Catholic teaching holds that the human body is a gift from God.

"As some members of his close entourage in Poland and in the Vatican were able to hear with their own ears, John Paul flagellated himself. In his armoire, amid all the vestments and hanging on a hanger, was a belt which he used as a whip and which he always brought to Castel Gandolfo," the papal retreat where John Paul vacationed each summer.
Sullivan, a devout Catholic, approves, saying
I have every respect for the practice of self-mortification and self-denial. . . .  I see the last Pope's embrace of these things as affecting signs of his deep and genuine closeness to God.
Yet despite his loyal support for self-flagellation - a practice which Jesus never indulged in, and never, ever recommended - that brilliant mind also has the independence to ask the pertinent question here:
So why is self-abuse inherently wrong when it is done by hand and yet saintly when it is done by whip?
Masturbation, of course, is also an "intrinsically and gravely disordered action," the Church says.

So - if you jack yourself off, or you get off with your committed partner, you are committing outrageous evil.  And destroying civilization while you're at it.  Don't even think about asking for the law to protect your love and marriage, you filthy, twisted, disordered creep, you.

But - if you whip yourself bloody in your bedroom every night, why, God smiles - and loves you even more.

Now I ask you, fellas:  Just how fucked up is that?

Christian perfection, my ass. 

And again I refer my truckbuddies to Matthew 25 for clarification.

Camp Courage: "This is the Time for Telling"

Lt. Dan Choi, speaking about his work with Camp Courage, a travelling workshop in California run by the Courage Campaign to teach community organizing and communication skills to LGBT rights supporters around the state:
I would liken a lot of the things Camp Courage has taught to a lot of the values that the Army tries to inculcate, and I think Camp Courage does that brilliantly. It really just says, “You have to stand up for who you are,” and, “Your fears and your human tendency to hide and to be comfortable are the things that make our movement and our society absolutely weak.”

A lot of people have a sense of worthlessness, particularly within the LGBT community just because of the way society has set up judgment against us. Camp Courage really turned that on its head, and says that the sense of worthlessness and that hiding is what makes you worthless. When we break through that, even with all the consequences — particularly with me, the consequence of getting kicked out of the military — some of us feel like we’ve been stripped of our dignity. But us just standing and sharing that story, that is our dignity in itself. And so that’s really the message that I’ve tried to portray to a lot of people as much as possible — there is so much strength in that very simple value of honesty and integrity. I’ve realized that parts of my identity help me to spread that message in different ways, and they build a platform, in a way, so that I can communicate to a wide array of people. But the basics of it all, the foundation, is the fact that when you stand up, you confer that dignity upon yourself. . . .

We can have all this legislation and we can have all these successes in the courtroom or in Congress or even in the executive branch or the bureaucratic level, and those are measureable. But the true measure for me, when I think about my work and this activism, is are we capable as individual gay people in the world to live honestly, and how have we progressed in the ability for people to come to terms with themselves. So when you look at that very noble end state, then every single thing we do, even if we seem disunited, is working toward that.

If you think just in terms of if the activism is going to the end of having legislation, then, sure, you can think of it in terms of lobbying. You can look at the other lobbies and see other constructs and the constraints of our particular political system. But my goal from the very beginning is to tell every soldier—and of course that’s applicable to every Southern Baptist, or every Asian-American, or every gay person in America and the world — that you are honorable. When we can make that message very clear to all these people, I think, in the end, that is much more important for us as a community, to have that dignity. Are we there yet? I think we’ve come a long way in that goal.

Everything but the Kitchen Sink

Today's press release from Rick Jacobs, chair of the Courage Campaign, which runs the Prop 8 Trial Tracker for live blogging of the Perry case (link is at right under "Russ Recommends"):
Explosive Evidence Exposes Prop 8 Campaign as
Trial Proceedings near Dramatic Close

This morning’s evidence made the Prop 8 side’s strategy crystal clear — use fear and lies to promote hate. It is horrifying that Prop 8 proponents would compare marriage equality to the 9/11 terrorist attacks and imply that marriage equality will open the door to pedophilia, incest and bestiality.

Ron Prentice, Andrew Pugno and their Prop 8 team — with the highly capable and apparently deeply cynical leadership of Frank Schubert — created a permanent campaign to scare voters into believing that same-sex marriage would threaten children, undermine America and lead to every form of illicit behavior imaginable.

This evidence is not just a smoking gun. It was an arsenal of incendiary devices directed at the LGBT community and voters. This is how the Prop 8 side won — through fear and lies.

CA Court To Issue Ruling On Constitutional Amendment Banning Gay Marriages
Finally, this morning we saw indisputable, documented evidence in the form of emails and videos that Ron Prentice and Protect Marriage coordinated closely and relied upon the Catholic Church, the LDS Church, the Family Research Council, Maggie Gallagher, Brian Brown and the National Organization for Marriage to get Prop. 8 on the ballot and to win through a campaign of lies.

Last week, the Supreme Court erased decades of precedent by ruling that corporations have the same rights as people when it comes to speech. Let’s hope that the court will as readily see that LGBT people have at least the same rights as corporations and surely the same rights as other people.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Survival and Suffering in Haiti

Hundreds Of Thousands Still Displaced As Recovery Efforts Continue In Haiti
Two weeks on, heartwarming stories of survival and reunion; and also of utter cluelessness and stupidity.  Oh my, does the world ever really learn anything from past mistakes?  Can you say Katrina?  God help them all.

First, check out this revealing photo essay from Haiti on "Life Beyond the Headlines."

The Only Solution Is Love

I'm still planning to finish my series on Becoming a Not-Man that I blogged a few posts of last fall.  It was quite an exertion, writing those; yet through the act of writing, some connections and realizations became more clear.  Beneath the surface of daily life and my homemade diversions, I'm still meditating on those things, and I'll write more when my thoughts are ready to see the light of day.

In the meantime, however, Andrew Sullivan has, eloquently, put his finger on the heart of the matter; and it's always reassuring to hear that these deep, deep wounds have not been suffered by me alone, that I am not the only bloodied veteran of the terrible battle for self-respect - a battle that, unlike Jacob's wrestling with the angel of the Lord, is never truly finished:
It's hard to explain how the gay man's psyche survives childhood and adolescence and early adulthood even in a completely tolerant society. To feel unworthy in the depths of one's being is a wound that takes decades to heal and courage to face. Many young gay people feel it; more to the point, in my view, many young gay people will always feel it - because being different in such a profound way from one's peers as one grows up is inevitably isolating. To live in a world where all the institutions are designed for the other, and to navigate a path through that, is really tough. So, yes, happiness can be elusive or too easily bought.

But this is life. It is tougher for many gays than straights, but not always. And this is the human reality: men die and they are not happy, to go all Camus on you. We have to suck it up and deal with it, and realize how insanely lucky we are to be born as homosexuals in one of the very few periods in time when we haven't been targeted for murder or jail or unmitigated obloquy.

I don't think I would have gotten through intact without God, my friends, my family and my husband. The first matters. The double bind for gay kids is that the refuge I believe they need - a loving God to heal and protect them - is actively hostile in many faith communities. And so the internal isolation deepens, even as the search for faith is often the most tenacious among those the churches deem unworthy of it. The temptation to drink or do drugs as an alternative is very strong - and, frankly, not entirely unhealthy in moderation as a way to find moments of transcendence or escape or perspective.

But in the end, the only solution is love. I believe that all love comes from God, but whether you do or not, love is still tangible in the human and natural world. Alas, we gay men have taught ourselves so powerfully how we are unworthy of such love, and afraid of it, that we seek it in all the wrong places or grab simulacra of it we then use to punish ourselves.

So Exactly WHO Are the Child Molesters?

Above, a pamphlet from the infamous Save Our Children campaign in Dade County, Florida, in 1977, led by Anita Bryant:  the Big Lie that's been told and retold down to this very day by Christianists - who like to keep the real sexual abuse story hidden away, not talked about . . . oh no.  That would be too embarrassing for a lot of straight men.

With his usual excellent logic - and the plain, provable facts - Rob Tisinai exposes the vicious lies in this great video, with source references at the end. 

See also the very well documented report at Box Turtle Bulletin, "Are Gays a Threat to Our Children?"

Of course, being gay - or being any other minority, for that matter - doesn't make you an automatic saint, of course not.  But neither does it make you an automatic monster.  We are human beings just like our straight brothers and sisters - a mixture, just like them, of good and bad and indifferent.  No better, no worse:  human.  And now it's time for these lies to stop.

Send this on to someone you love who has never gotten these vile old myths about gay people completely out of their heads.

P.S. - Read Rob's touching story about growing up gay, and learning to hide it behind a "nice-guy" image, so he'd be liked - not hated.  I think many of us can relate to that one.

Is It True What They Say About Dixie?

Yup, sure is.  I took a picture here at lunchtime just to prove it to all you poor sonsabitches from the frozen Nawth.  Notice the green grass sprouting up in the background, here on the 25th of January - typical.

P.S. - I love this song.  If you're into swing, check out the awesome Rudy Vallee version.

Betty White Gets the Last Laugh

SAG AWARDS 2010 - PRESS ROOM. . . after Sandra Bullock said she found her "annoying" at the Screen Actors Guild awards, #4 in the list of clips here (not embeddable).

I too have always found her screen persona very annoying, and never paid much attention to her.  But watching this short clip, I was struck by how she reminded me of my mother, in her later years:  a subdued, slightly faded glamour - but still vivacious and feisty underneath, a quality of spirit that age could never erase.

Otherwise, they were nothing alike, in looks or personality, but it was a sweet moment of recollection for me.

The Crucible Awaits

From Andrew Sullivan's column for the Sunday Times (London), on the "asteroid strike" of Scott Brown's election last week:
It was staggeringly demoralizing for the Democrats.

In one swoop, the implications sank in. As long as the Republicans refuse to accept or compromise on anything, as long as they insist on filibustering every single piece of legislation Obama favors in the Senate, then nothing can be done. That's how the system works. It doesn't matter that the House passed health reform (and cap and trade) by a big margin months ago. What matters is that just one or two senators can hold up the entire process indefinitely. This is, of course, an insane way to govern a country. But it's right there in the Constitution. Because every state gets two senators, and the empty rural states tend to be Republican, you end up with the fact - illustrated by writer James Fallows - that the Senators favoring health reform represent 63 percent of Americans, while those voting against represent 37 percent. But the 37 percent wins. Hence the great spoof headline of last week:  Republicans win 41 - 59 majority in Senate. . . .

I feel for the guy. His bill was attacked by the left as a sell-out to insurance companies; it was attacked by the foam-flecked right as communism - the end of America as they have known it. The bill remains more moderate than those once proposed by Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton. Obama has also taken all the blame for the recession and the debt, as if Bush never existed. And he has helped turn the economy around in ways not yet felt on main street.

But this is the big time and politics is a contact sport. How Obama responds to this will tell us a huge amount about him. He cannot and should not reinvent himself as a Democratic partisan. He isn't. He cannot fake populism. He's too responsible for that. He cannot ram a bill through by hook or by crook if he is to respect the genuine anxiety about the reform. So he has to be calm, patient, reasonable and somehow harness Democratic anger as well. He is still well-liked and his approval ratings have recently been gliding up. He could easily prosper personally, as Clinton did, by presiding over a Congress dominated by the opposition. But he does not want to be a Clinton; and the times require much more.

If he fails now, the reformist center of American politics, fragile at best, may be gone for a long time. And so his crucible awaits. The promise of his candidacy - that there must be a way to unite Americans in dealing with their longstanding problems - hangs in the balance. I do not know - because no one can - how he will grapple with this. But one recalls that politics, in the country as well as Massachusetts, is always pregnant with the possibility of surprise. And the audacity - for it is truly audacious now - of hope.

Fired Up, Ready to Go - Against the Buzz Saw

President Obama Hold Town Hall Meeting In Ohio

At a Town Hall meeting on Friday in Elyria, Ohio, President Obama had this to say at the end of a gruesome week for healthcare reform:
So here's the good news: We've gotten pretty far down the road. But I've got to admit, we had a little bit of a buzz saw this week.

Now, I also know that part of the reason is, is that this process was so long and so drawn out -- this is just what happens in Congress. I mean, it's just an ugly process. You're running headlong into special interests, and armies of lobbyists, and partisan politics that's aimed at exploiting fears instead of getting things done. And then you've got ads that are scaring the bejesus out of everybody. (Laughter.) And the longer it takes, the uglier it looks. . . .

And I'm not going to walk away just because it's hard. We are going to keep on working to get this done -- with Democrats, I hope with Republicans -- anybody who's willing to step up. Because I'm not going to watch more people get crushed by costs or denied care they need by insurance company bureaucrats. I'm not going to have insurance companies click their heels and watch their stocks skyrocket because once again there's no control on what they do.

So long as I have some breath in me, so long as I have the privilege of serving as your President, I will not stop fighting for you.
Well, I'm glad to hear you testify, Mr. Fierce Advocate.  I hope you mean it this time.

Today's Quote

After writing that post about "Real Christian Thinking" last night, I ran smack into this post on Sullivan's blog; and it seemed, in a strange and indefinable way, to be something intended for my notice:
"Do not depend on the hope of results. When you are doing the sort of work you have taken on, essentially an apostolic work, you may have to face the fact that your work will be apparently worthless and even achieve no result at all, if not perhaps results opposite to what you expect. As you get used to this idea, you start more and more to concentrate not on the results but on the value, the rightness, the truth of the work itself," - Thomas Merton, "Letter To A Young Activist"
Hmm.  Well okay, Big Man.  You da boss.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Lovelight: How Deep Is Your Love?

Goodnight guys, sweet dreams.

"Real Christian" Thinking

An anonymous commenter has, in a roundabout way, accused your Head Trucker of not thinking like a "Real Christian."  Because I don't support starving stray animals to death, or letting poor kids go hungry.

You can read his or her remarks here as well as my response.

But in the meantime, since it's Sunday, your Head Trucker would like to clear up what seems to be some widespread confusion about what "Real Christians" should be thinking and doing.  So as a public service, I therefore present the following excerpt without further comment.  Read it and make up your own minds.
When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:

And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:

And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.

Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:

Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?

When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?

Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:

I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.

Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?

Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.

And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
--Matthew 25.
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