ETERNITY

Hate takes us down.
Hate takes us down all the time.
But if your hate takes me down,
it’s a very slippery slope.

If your hate takes me down
the people who see it
will be offended,
they will be motivated,
they will be ready-
for, that hate which takes me down
will not
take down the people
who love me.
The hate that takes me down
will raise me up higher
than you could ever believe.

And that’s the paradox.
You may hate me.
You may loathe me.
But when you take me down
and make me part
of your hate
it becomes something bigger
than just you and me.

It makes me immortal.

You and your hateful life will die.

In the end, hate gives you what you hate.
It is useless.

But not so Immortality.
Eternity is freedom from fear,
freedom from hate-
knowing that I am always safe-
even should I die.
~DGS

Tiny Westboro Baptist Church Protest Fails Hilariously In Montana, Sparks Huge Pro-LGBT Rally

From the Huffington Post:

In what has become something of a regular occurrence, a small protest attempt by anti-gay extremists of the Westboro Baptist Church on Monday succeeded only in giving rise to a much larger counter-demonstration based on tolerance, LGBT rights and ice cream.

About five members of the Kansas-based congregation showed up in Bozeman, Mont.to picket Montana State University and a local high school over their commitment to teaching students that it is okay to be gay. While the tiny group could have gone unnoticed on its own, their presence brought a much larger spectacle — hundreds of people unified against the Westboro Baptist Church’s message of hate.

Proud of my town- I was unable to be there, but I can’t say enough about the love and support that was shown. I believe that every challenge deserves a thoughtful response- and we had one.

READ IT ALL HERE

 

Being Gay or Lesbian Isn’t a Crime! It’s Time to Pass SB 107!

Action Alert! From The MHRN today:
Header
Senate Bill 107, carried by Missoula’s Sen. Tom Facey, was tabled by the House Judiciary Committee today on a 12-8 vote.
We need you to take a moment and contact your Representative immediately and ask them to support the “blast motion” on SB 107 to put this bill on the House floor for a simple yes or no vote! Click here to email representatives in your area, or call 406-444-4800 to leave messages for up to five representatives in your area!
This bill would finally remove unconstitutional language from Montana law that labels gays and lesbians felons, punishable by fines of up to $50,000 and/or up to ten years in jail. It was ruled unconstitutional by the Montana Supreme Court in 1997, but remains on the state’s law books because of homophobia and fear. Despite perennial attempts to eliminate this hurtful language from our laws, and the passage of this bill by the full Senate this session and back in 2011, we consistently come up against a brick wall in an ideologically driven and extremely conservative House committee.
But this is not the end of SB 107 this session! 
We think there are reasonable members of both parties on the floor of the Montana House that believe language criminalizing gay and lesbian relationships is wrong! We want to see this bill move forward with a “blast motion,” a special procedure that allows a bill that has been tabled in committee the chance to have an up-or-down vote. The catch?We’ll need a supermajority of legislators to agree with us – and that’s why we need your help! 
We need you to take a moment and contact your Representative immediately and ask them to support the “blast motion” on SB 107! Click here to email representatives in your area, or call 406-444-4800 to leave messages for up to five representatives in your area! 
 
Call the Capitol Switchboard at (406) 444-4800 to leave a message for up to five legislators in your area at a time. 
Thank you for your continued support for equality.
Sincerely,
Jamee Greer
Montana Human Rights Network

Matthew Shepard’s Legacy Of Passion For Human Rights

From Jason Marsden, Executive Director of the Matthew Shepard Foundation- republished from their website

(Today) will mark 14 years since the day we lost Matt Shepard. I know from the conversations I’ve had with many of you that those terrible days in October 1998 echo in your memories: where you were, how it felt, the fears, the outrage and the questions you were left with.

Why does hatred still stalk our community, you have asked. Why can’t we be left in peace to be who we are? Is it ever going to change?

We have wrestled with those questions for all these years, too. Matt’s mother and father continue to try to answer them as best they can as they travel the country, and now more of the world to speak to LGBT community members and even more importantly, their allies.

Hatred is powerful, and learned. Hatred is not reasonable, and people can seldom be reasoned out of beliefs they weren’t reasoned into in the first place. But social forces can work against hatred just as they have worked in its favor for centuries. And so that’s where we at the Foundation have felt our shoulder fits best to the wheel: creating social momentum that pushes hatred aside in favor of understanding, compassion and acceptance.

Matt means a great deal as a memory, a lesson and a tragedy to millions of people. To a relative handful of us, he means those things too, but also a person missing from our daily lives as a son, or a friend, or a classmate, or a fellow activist.

Some of you have heard my story of how I met Matt at a little birthday party in Casper, Wyoming, a long time ago now all of a sudden. He recognized me as a reporter for the local paper and gave me an earful (I have since learned he enjoyed that) about how we weren’t covering the human rights crisis unfolding in Afghanistan.

Sure, it was a small paper, but surely, Matt argued, we had a responsibility to inform people what the wire services were reporting on the Taliban and its cruel rollbacks of freedom and dignity for women in that largely ignored country.

It was around 1997 or 1998 and Americans weren’t thinking about Afghanistan or the Taliban much then. But in a country where girls could once attend school and women had at least a sliver of individual autonomy, a severe religious law backed by deadly force was eroding that progress on human rights. And Matt was outraged by it.

Our friendship was short because of his senseless murder. But I came to know that concern about human rights, and especially those of women in the developing world, was something that really disturbed Matt and made him itch to do something about it. And we all now know he was wise to worry about the danger the world could face from the zeal and hatred at the heart of these abuses.

When this week rolls around every year, people all over the world remember Matt and the wrong that was done to him out of anti-gay hatred. We look hopefully at improvements in gay rights and the culture of our country and sense at least a grim appreciation for the power this movement has gained to improve our lot.

A few of us also think about Matt the person and what the world lost with the removal from our midst of someone so passionate about human rights and social change and wonder what he might have been able to contribute.

This week I have watched the tragedy and outrage about a senseless crime of hate swell and boil over in Pakistan and cannot help but think of Matt.

Fourteen-year-old Malala Yousafzai is someone that I just know Matt would have thought was boundlessly promising and wonderful. She has been famously outspoken against militants’ attacks on the right of girls to go to school.  She blogged about her classmates’ anxieties, and talked about setting up her own school. She won a national peace prize from the prime minister. This is the change Matt wanted for women in her part of the world.

She was cruelly targeted with death on a school bus in Mingora, where the Taliban has stubbornly struggled to project its power at all costs. A gunman asked for her by name and shot her. She’d already been named on a hit list.

At this writing Malala still clings to life, and disgust at this violent effort to snuff out a powerful voice is spreading across the country and the world. We are praying for her and for her country. I hope you will too.

This is what Matt was worried about. This is what happened when Matt was killed. We are the ones left to do the hard work that makes this world a place where this doesn’t have to keep happening. We have to be up to the challenge every day because the hatred clocks in every day as well.

We at the Foundation have a role to play because of all of you who have supported our work with your encouragement, your individual voices, and yes, your donations. We thank you for all you have done to Erase Hate. And if you are in a position to provide additional support for our work, please do so today as we begin another year of remembering Matt and safeguarding his legacy.

Yours truly,

Jason Marsden
Executive Director

Touchdown! Kluwe

Chris Kluwe

Chris Kluwe (Photo credit: rburtzel)

It’s not often that a kicker scores a touchdown, but yesterday it happened.

Chris Kluwe, the outspoken (and well-spoken) punter for the Minnesota Vikings, famous for his letter of response to an anti-gay legislator, responded to Minnesota’s Archbishop (and the Pope) on the topics of being gay, being Christian and the separation of church and state in his blog at TwinCities.com.

And he gets to the heart of the matter very quickly:

How can we reconcile our version of the Catholic Church as salvation to the sick, the needy, the poor, when we must also bear witness to the Catholic Church as oppressor, tormentor, and executioner? Where, in all of Jesus’ teachings, did he ever say to deny the humanity of other human beings; where did the Son of God proclaim that mortal Man knew God’s will; where, pray tell, did Jesus ever say to harden your heart against those who may not be exactly the same as you?

I say to you – nowhere. Nowhere does Jesus preach hate, or intolerance, or loathing. Nowhere does Jesus say, “You shall deny the humanity of gay people because it makes you feel uncomfortable”. Nowhere does Jesus say, “And the mortal men of the Church shall be the sole conduits of the Word of God, for they are perfect and infallible.” Nowhere, in all of the recorded teachings of Jesus, does it say anything about discrimination or prejudice.

“But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.”

Millions of children grow up raised in the Catholic faith. Some of these children will be gay, through no choice of their own, but because of how God created them. What does it say to those children when the head of their religion in this state, a man who claims to “explain and defend the teaching of the Church because I have been ordained to do so and I believe those teachings with all my heart”, a man acting under the direct auspices of the Pope himself, tells them that they can’t be as worthy as everyone else, even though they believe in the teachings of Jesus? What will these children think, as they suffer the barbed insults of their classmates and teachers; I ask you, sir, what will these children think as they are belittled and tormented due to teachings you espouse? What judgment will be passed on your soul when yet another poor child reaches for the knife or the noose to end his or her earthly torment due to your example? (emphasis mine)

Exactly.

Bravo, Chris Kluwe! Bravo and thank you. You speak for many of us.

Read the whole thing here.

And, in related news, Theologian Hans Kung is calling for a “Revolution From Below” to an authoritarian Catholic Church. Well worth a read:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/oct/05/catholic-revolution-nazi-dictatorship-pope

Related articles:

Hate (Officially) Comes To Billings For A Day

From KTVQ News:

Chick-fil-A

Chick-fil-A (Photo credit: Adam Kuban)

Calling it an opportunity to support traditional family values the Montana Family Foundation will open a Chick-fil-A drive through in Billings for one day in September. The chicken will be available for one day only in Billings’ west end on Saturday, September 8th from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. This one-day drive-thru event is called Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day 2.0.

For a suggested donation of $20 per person the public is invited to attend this fund-raising event where hot Chick-fil-A chicken, coleslaw and chocolate chip cookies will be available to the first 1000 people.

Jeff Laszloffy, President/CEO of the Montana Family Foundation said, “A majority of the citizens of Montana share the same conservative values as Dan Cathy and solidified them as the law in 2004 when Montana voted to amend its Constitution to define marriage as being exclusively between one man and one woman in this state.”
“Since Chick-fil-A doesn’t yet have locations in our state most Montanan’s were unable to participate in the national event in August. So we created Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day 2.0 on Saturday, September 8th from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. and invite the Treasure State to join the celebration and help support the Montana Family Foundation’s efforts.”

Yeah, this completely sucks- and it hurts my heart. But here’s something I love:

From the KTVQ Facebook comments on the story:

“Twenty dollar donation? Why protest across the street when you can be much more effective: they want people to donate twenty dollars to their deplorable organization. They will serve 1,000. Simply get in line, be polite, and pay .01 for the meal.”

Sounds like a plan.

Who’s in?

Update 2:  A Counter Rally is being planned- check it out here. 

Study: That Queer-bashing Bully Could Be Gay

A fascinating study, discussed in the New York Times this morning, reveals that, at least in a clinical setting, “very straight” persons often struggle with same-sex feelings:

No Homophobia logo

No Homophobia logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One theory is that homosexual urges, when repressed out of shame or fear, can be expressed as homophobia. Freud famously called this process a “reaction formation” — the angry battle against the outward symbol of feelings that are inwardly being stifled. Even Mr. Haggard seemed to endorse this idea when, apologizing after his scandal for his anti-gay rhetoric, he said, “I think I was partially so vehement because of my own war.”

It’s a compelling theory — and now there is scientific reason to believe it. In this month’s issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, we and our fellow researchers provide empirical evidence that homophobia can result, at least in part, from the suppression of same-sex desire.

Well, as anybody whose been following Glee knows, the bully can often turn out to be the would-be boyfriend. I remember a few of them from my own life- who were the most vehement haters of the gays- and later turned out to be, as one of them told me later “a relieved homosexual.” The authors conclude:

It’s important to stress the obvious: Not all those who campaign against gay men and lesbians secretly feel same-sex attractions. But at least some who oppose homosexuality are likely to be individuals struggling against parts of themselves, having themselves been victims of oppression and lack of acceptance. The costs are great, not only for the targets of anti-gay efforts but also often for the perpetrators. We would do well to remember that all involved deserve our compassion.

Read the full article here.