Truth In The Face Of Ignorance

peace love joy

peace love joy (Photo credit: Leonard John Matthews)

Back in March, I wrote a piece about the Pope speaking to American bishops about the need for a culture war about marriage equality- and we got one. The Catholic Church was the largest single contributor (through the Bishop’s Conference, the Knights of Columbus and the National Organization For Marriage) against marriage equality initiatives in four states.

They lost.

Kind of makes you wonder what kind of help those millions of dollars would have given the poor if they hadn’t been so horribly directed against love.

Anyway, I ended that essay with with an open letter to LGBTIQ persons who live every day in the face of moral attack, physical violence and angry, ignorant, powerful people. We may have come a long way this year, but we’re not there yet.

So- if I may be so bold- I’d like to reprint the letter as a reminder that we need to find inspiration in ourselves. We need to remember that in the face of ignorance, we must continually speak the quiet, powerful truth of purpose and experience.

And I need to be reminded just as much as anybody else.

To my LGBTIQ family,

Love toward yourself remains a fundamental principle of morality. Therefore it is important and necessary to insist on respect for your own right to life. I believe you were created to fill a very important place in this world- a place often dramatically misunderstood and opposed by people out of ignorance and fear.

It is crucial that you understand that you are not alone- there are millions of people who want to understand you and accept you and who will love you. You have the right to be understood- and you have the right to love and be loved in the ways you feel are most faithful to your created nature.

You have the right to live free from fear of attack and violence. You have the right to defend yourself against ignorant attacks on your dignity, happiness and self-respect. You have the right to fulfill your potential and to follow your heart and mind and soul and dreams to the best of your ability. Despite ignorance, despite persecution, despite fear and power and hate.

I believe that we are all beloved by the God of our understanding. I believe that we are valuable in being beloved. And that value is not diminished, even in the face of anger, fear and ignorance. Even in the face of religious belief which would deny us that value.

We are a courageous, wonderful people, with visions of love and acceptance and equality and happiness that I believe are deeply important to the future of the world.

I beg you, don’t let go of these visions- no matter how strongly others try to pull them away from you. They are your birthright.

They are the key hope to a world filled with peace.

Amen.

Donors For Marriage Equality Dwarfed Those Who Opposed It

 

 

Human Rights Campaign 2791

Human Rights Campaign 2791 (Photo credit: tedeytan)

From HRC Blog:
The number of contributors who gave in support of marriage for gay and lesbian couples was thirteen times greater – about 133,000 compared to an estimated 10,500 – than those giving financial resources to oppose marriage equality. That’s according to a new analysis HRC released today.

 

Polls consistently show – USA Today/Gallup and ABC News/Washington Post being the latest examples – that a majority of Americans support committed gay and lesbian couples getting a marriage license.

 

HRC obtained financial contribution data in each of the four states through the Maine Ethics Commission, Maryland Board of Elections, Minnesota Campaign Finance & Public Disclosure Board and Washington Public Disclosure Commission. Supplemental data was obtained from each of the pro-marriage equality ballot committees to account for small donors not required to be itemized by law.  Anti-marriage equality donor information was aggregated from currently available public reports and estimates of non-itemized contributions.

 

Pro-equality groups raised more than $34 million in the four states, mostly from small donors. Anti-marriage equality campaigns raised $12 million, of which nearly two-thirds ($8 million) came from just three sources: the National Organization for Marriage, the Catholic Church and its affiliate the Knights of Columbus.

 

NOM, the largest funder in all four states to defeat marriage equality, saw a one-third decline in contributions for 2011, with two donors providing 75 percent of its funding, according to tax returns obtained last month by HRC.

 

 

 

Tonight: “Love Free Or Die”

Tonight on many PBS stations airs “Love Free Or Die”, the story of ‘the first openly gay bishop in Christendom’, Gene Robinson:

 

 

Tonight on Independent Lens. Montana PBS airs it at 9pm.

Car Crashes Knocked Off By Suicide

From WebMD:

Suicide has overtaken car crashes as the leading cause of injury-related deaths in the U.S.

English: Skull and crossbones

English: Skull and crossbones (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While public health efforts have curbed the number of car fatalities by 25% over the last decade, a new study shows suicide deaths rose by 15% during the same period.

“Comprehensive and sustained traffic safety measures have apparently substantially diminished the motor vehicle traffic mortality rate, and similar attention and resources are needed to reduce the burden of other injury,” researcher Ian Rockett, PhD, MPH of West Virginia University and colleagues write in theAmerican Journal of Public Health.

“Contrasting with disease mortality, the injury mortality rate trended upward during most of that decade,” write the researchers.

The top five leading causes of injury-related deaths were:

  1. Suicide
  2. Motor vehicle crashes
  3. Poisoning
  4. Falls
  5. Homicide

Researchers say the findings demonstrate that suicide is now a global public health issue.

And I would remind readers that LGBT youth attempt suicide at four times the rate of their peers. Notably because of intolerance, shame and fear perpetuated by ignorant institutions and people- sadly, many of them “Christians”.  So here’s a not-so-gentle reminder:

“…but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble,
it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck,
and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.” ~Matthew 18.6

Take Away From Last Night’s Gubernatorial Debate

Separation of church and state?

Playing “Chicken” In Billings

Jessica Mayrer wrote an article in today’s Missoula Independent about last week’s chicken stand-off in Billings. Money quote:‎

We have got to ratchet back emotion,” Laszloffy says.

Montana Human Rights Network gay rights activist Jamee Greer agrees that violence is never appropriate. However, he finds it ironic that Laszloffy, a man who has consistently branded gays as perverts, sinners and criminals, now wants to tone down the rhetoric. “He’s made his living off of demonizing, scapegoating and harassing LGBT community members,” Greer says. (emphasis mine)

Laszloffy has repeatedly ratcheted up the rhetoric at strategic points along his career- including making veiled threats to one Jamee Greer. See a few of them here.

Now he wants to ratchet back emotion? After stoking the fires of emotion against fellow citizens for years? Now he’s nervous?

Asshat.

Oh, and if anybody knows the identity of the ‘local caterer’ that provided the hate nuggets- I’d love to know, too. And probably so would a lot of people. I’m surprised it wasn’t pursued in the article.

That kind of masked stuff is so 1870’s….

“Ex-Gay” Reparative Therapy Thoroughly Debunked

From The Maddow Blog:

We have gotten some nice feedback about Wednesday’s segment (after the jump) on the ex-gay movement and Dr. Robert Spitzer’s controversial 2001 study asserting that reparative therapy can change some gay people to being straight. Dr. Spitzer is now on the record as saying he wishes he had never published the study in the first place. Our segment was inspired by Gabriel Arana’s piece in The American Prospect called “My So-Called Ex-Gay Life.” Arana first broke the news about Dr. Spitzer’s desire to retract his study. If you haven’t read his piece yet, you should. It’s great. He also talked with Rachel on Wednesday about the study and about his own experience in reparative therapy.

After the show, the American Psychoanalytic Association sent this e-mail:

This issue deserves coverage in the news as long as individuals and the “ex-gay movement” use faulty science and bias to advance their agenda. APsaA states in its 1999 position statement on reparative therapy that efforts to “convert” or “repair” an individual’s sexual orientation are against the fundamental principles of psychoanalytic treatment and often result in substantial psychological pain by reinforcing damaging internalized homophobic attitudes. We emphasize that anti-homosexual bias, just like any other societal prejudice, negatively affects mental health and contributes to feelings of stigma and low self-worth. Reparative therapy is nothing more than quackery fueled by bias.

Keep an eye out for a followup to Wednesday’s segment. We’re working on another story about Dr. Spitzer’s study and how it’s being used currently — even though Dr. Spitzer wishes he’d never published it — to further anti-gay causes.

Full post and video here.