Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Protecting the President's King

Let me say right off that I understand the skepticism and the caution. President Obama, after all, waited nearly four years to say anything this unequivocal. He sat and watched while state after state chose to pull right after right away, sometimes preemptively. Sometimes he spoke up, but generally, it was weak tea.

But, this time it was different. He said:

"At a certain point, I've just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married."

Now, there are two schools of thought. One is that he has "evolved," like he had stated, and that this is something that he has come to during his presidency. The other is that this is a political calculation, done to try and garner votes (whether he believes it or not is immaterial).

I am going to come out right now and say neither matters. This is still a good thing. This is a sitting president publicly throwing in his lot with lgbt people. After North Carolina, no one can deny that we need that endorsement right now. At the very least, it is a tiny bit of salve on the wound.

Should he have come out with this before the election in North Carolina? Well, do you honestly believe it would have made a difference? It was not a small margin that it lost by. I really don't believe that anyone who cared about gay rights would have stayed home just because the president hadn't given his endorsement. Honestly, I think it is a more likely scenario is that it would have riled more bigots up to get out and vote against it because Obama supported it.

But, coming on the heels of this loss...we are angered. We are hurting. We are motivated again. We are cognizant once again of what happens when we are complacent, when we don't speak loudly enough. Once again, we see the results of those who already speak loudly, with a cable news microphone, throwing lighter fluid on the flames.

And then the President comes in and sacrifices his queen for us. He knows that this will anger some people to the point that they will never vote for him again, even if they voted for him the last time. But, honestly, there were a lot of people who were going to throw this election away, because they wouldn't vote for him if he didn't come out for gay marriage. Maybe not enough to make a difference, but enough to make his election to a second term not a sure thing. And, that is too close for comfort.

Because, what would our other option be? Mitt Romney? That's not just biting off your nose to spite your face, that's lopping off the whole head. Ron Paul? Yeah, he's for gay marriage, but against rights for women and blacks. And Gingrich? He supports a federal (!) amendment to ban gay marriage.

We cannot do anything that would put any of these men and their ilk in the White House. We cannot stay home. We cannot be complacent. We cannot lose. People are waiting, with their lives on hold, for people to understand that rights are not given. That's why are called rights. But, rights have been denied and we need to change that.

President Obama is not perfect, but we don't get perfect in politics. However, when I have to chose between not perfect and perfectly awful, I will vote for not perfect everytime.

The President is no longer riding the fence. He is with us, for better or for worse. We need to have his back. We need to support him and win this election in a landslide. We also need to vote out the bigots in Congress who have been thwarting every move he has tried to make. Change cannot happen when only one person is doing it. We need to get people in there that will work with him and people who believe in fairness and equality.

He sacrificed his queen for us. Now, let's protect his King and get her back.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A Painful Blip in Time

I don't know what to say that I haven't said before. I don't know how to convince people if it didn't work before. I don't know how to hold back this tide of fear and hate that seems to be gaining tread in this country, in this world.

But, being quiet doesn't feel like an option.

Bigots won today in North Carolina. They won last week at the Methodist General Conference.

The definition of a bigot is a "person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices, especially one exhibiting intolerance, irrationality, and animosity toward those of differing beliefs."

How is deciding that others should not have the very same rights that you enjoy just by existing not being irrational and intolerant?

I am not "name-calling." I am "naming." There is a difference. This is not a word meant to hurt, but a word meant to make them open their eyes. If there is a tiny shred of humanity left in just might make them listen and think about what they do.

The whole thing just makes my heart hurt and I get a feeling that we are feeling what the civil rights worker in the 60's felt. But, then, realizing that what they felt was probably even stronger and that they really were in the face of greater odds (we at least have that legislation and time to piggyback on), I feel like we can do this. This is only a blip in time and one day it'll be in a history book. And, when our grandkids read about it, we can say "We fought for equal rights. We lost friends. We lost battles. Sometimes, we lost hope. But, we picked ourselves up and we kept fighting. We did it, because it was the only right thing to do."

Hopefully, by then, this will all be over and out grandkids will be amazed that this was ever an issue.

Friday, May 4, 2012

I am not ashamed to be a Methodist...but, they should be.

Methodists vote to keep derogatory anti-gay language.

Dear Methodist General Conference,

Congratulations. You’ve just re-affirmed acceptance of homophobia in the name of a man who told you to go and love everyone…without exception.

In this day and age, one would think that we have moved past this pettiness and into a space where we can allow for love to thrive, unhindered. One would expect a world that can see what is obvious: love is love is love. One would hope that we have learned from our lessons of the past: singling out a group for derision never ends well…for anyone, but most especially for that group.

You see, you can take the Bible, point to a few carefully picked verses, and claim that this is what God wants, but I would be very careful about doing that. As soon as you start using the Bible, or Jesus, as a tool of segregation, you have totally missed the point of your religion. Moreover, you seem to have completely missed the New Testament.

Jesus didn’t put caveats, disclaimers, conditions, or rules on his order to love your neighbor. He never said that anyone had any reason that they shouldn’t be able to hang with him. In fact, he chose to hang with those who most of us wouldn’t want to share a pew with on Sundays. And, he just loved them. He never told anyone they were “incompatible “with his teachings.

The main point behind almost all of Jesus’s lessons were to be kind to each other. I fail to see how telling a person that they are “incompatible” with lessons about kindness, simply because of who they fell in love with, is following Jesus’s teachings. It is simply mean. It serves no purpose other than to make a small-minded person feel big.

Homosexuality is not, nor has it ever been, incompatible with Christian teachings. However, homophobia, and the promulgation of it, IS.

I love my gay families and when you are talking to them, you are talking to ME.