The American Dilemma and How We Can Fix It

Posts tagged ‘homosexuality’

THE MOUTH THAT ROARED

“Glad tidings of great joy.”  That is the message of the Nativvity, preached from a thousand pulpits this Christmas.  But for at least one of our clergy, Jesse Jackson, Sr. there is never a holiday so solemn that he can’t refrain from preaching about the ethereal to offer his opinion on the mundane.  In his most recent foray, the Rev. Mr. Jackson decided to express his outrage at the “racist and anti-gay comments” that “Duck Dynasty” star, Phil Robertson made in his GQ interview.

Thanks to the controversy of Mr. Robertson’s remarks, there may only be a handful of people in the United States who have not seen one or more episodes of “Duck Dynasty.”  I am one of them.   If I want to watch reality television, I have only to step out on the streets and observe those who pass by.  At least that is unscripted.

I’m not certain how many of us read the GQ interview.  I have and would agree with those who found Mr. Robertson’s remarks to have been phrased in a less than poetic way.  But those are the remarks he made and considering his background as a backwoodsman I’m sure that he expressed himself in the way which is familiar to him.  That is hardly a reason for condemning the man.  If it were, Vice President Biden would be under a gag order.

For those of us who subscribe to a Christian ethos,as I presume the Rev. Mr. Jackson does, there is no reason nor does any of us have the right to condemn anyone else.  We leave that job to a higher authority.  Subsequent to the interview, Mr. Robertson made it quite clear that he personally condemned no one personally.  That is not his job.

What Jesse Jackson categorized as “anti-gay” remarks actually related to sexual activity outside the traditional marital relationship.  Mr. Jackson should be aware that the Bible does condemn all sexual activity other than between a husband and wife, whether that is between two men or two women or a man and woman who are not married.  We all transgress.  The Rev. Mr. Jackson is no exception, having fathered a child outside his marriage.  Hopefully he has mended his former ways.  But it is hard to listen to his condemnation of another on this subject and not have some reservations about his sincerity or the worth of his words.

Then there is the second issue, Mr. Robertson’s “racist” remarks.  As far as I could tell from the interview, Mr. Robertson merely described the condition and the attitudes of those blacks with whom he worked in the field.  Whether his interpretation of their condition was accurate or not, none of us can truly say.  But to categorize his belief that those blacks never expressed outrage at their conditions as being racist seems to be an overreach.

Racism – or for that matter – any form of prejudice is a horrible thing.  All of us should pity those who make it the central point of their worldview.  That includes Mr. Jackson and all others who profiteer by pitting one race against another.  People who truly oppose racism, as Mr. Jackson did back in the ‘60’s should be equally outraged when anyone is attacked solely on the basis of that person’s skin color.  Of course, back then, Mr. Jackson would not have attacked Phil Robertson for his position on homosexuality since he espoused exactly the same view..

Have we heard Mr. Jackson speak out about the “Knockout Game” in which predominantly black young hoodlums attack innocent, defenseless people and try to knock them unconscious with a single punch?  Have we heard him protest the fact that most of the victims have been Jews?  Has he spoken out about the tragic shooting murder last week of Brian Friedland in the Short Hills, NJ mall at the hands of four black thugs?  Of course, this most recent murder might have been the unfortunate result of a car jacking, nothing more.  But whenever a black is attacked by a white person, Mr. Jackson assumes that the motivating factor behind the attack is racism.  Why doesn’t the same logic apply when the roles of assailant and victim are reversed?

Over the years I’ve watched Jesse Jackson morph from a committed advocate for the disadvantaged to a purveyor of racism for the sake of personal gain and prestige.  That is perhaps the greatest tragedy – watching his perversion from a crusader to a succubus.

While his words once had meaning and his message had value, they are now little more than the vitriolic output of a mouth that once roared and whose passion once soared.  And there are fewer people of conscience who  bother to listen to him any more and worse, are embarrassed for him..

LABELS

As I sat down to write my latest post – on a totally different subject – I changed direction because I learned of the death of the first woman in space, an American by the name of Dr. Sally Ride.  She was an academically accomplished person, a pioneer in our adventure into the great unknown and a lesbian.

Nigger – Chink – Queer – Spic – Wet Back – Wop – Kike – Guinee.  We’ve all heard these terms and more.  They denigrate the speaker even more than those at whom they are directed.  They are, in my view, terms that should never enter the minds and certainly not the mouths of people of quality or substance.

Dr. Ride did something even more remarkable than being the first woman in space.  She was in a loving relationship that lasted for 27 years until her death on July 23rd.  How many heterosexual couples can make that claim in an era when marriage is a matter of formality rather than a matter of commitment?

I realize that those who have a religious orientation, as I do, may ask the question, is being gay moral or a defamation of God’s law?  To me that bears the same amount of weight as the question, is it moral to be a person whose skin is yellow or red?  Attempting to approach this question from a non-religious and totally logical basis I would ask you this question.

Is being gay or lesbian an inherited trait or an acquired behavior?  If it is the former, then it is no different than being short or tall, black or white, thin or heavy.  But if it is the latter, logic suggests that a person would want to acquire this behavior to experience some positive benefit.  And what positive benefit does a person gain by being gay?  I would welcome my readers’ response to that question because I, despite a fertile imagination, cannot think of any.

I remember one night in September in the early 1980’s I had to go down to bail a friend out of jail.  He had been arrested by the police because he was having a few drinks at a gay bar with some friends when the police raided the place.  This happened with predictable regularity under the regime of Mayor Richard J. Daley, a good Irish Catholic Democrat.  Apparently the Mayor felt that this made his stalwart supporters even more devoted to his cause.

The bar had a license for which it paid the City of Chicago an annual fee.  In addition, it paid for inspections from the city’s Health Department to make sure that it met standards of cleanliness.  The bar paid sales tax to the city on the drinks that it sold.  And despite all the revenue that was derived from an on-going business, the owners of this bar lived in constant fear of a raid.

After the episode which involved my friend, I had the opportunity to meet the owner of this bar.  In speaking with him, he informed me that in addition to all the licensing fees, he also paid an additional amount to various of those in authority (under the table) to minimize the number of the raids that occurred in his place of business.  I wasn’t surprised to hear that.

Isn’t it time that we stopped labeling people?  Isn’t it time that those of us who have a God-based faith really applied its tenets to those we encounter in our every day lives and those who don’t, accept others who are different as a matter of simple civility?

Neither I nor those of you reading this post is guiltless.  We have all done things and left others undone which we regret.  But I know that labeling people is not among my deeds or misdeeds.  Despite that, I am not so virtuous as to be the person to cast the first stone.

Are you?

MERE CHRISTIANITY

The book “Mere Christianity” by C. S. Lewis had a profound impact on me.  In it, Mr. Lewis who had changed his view of life from that of atheism to embrace  Christianity in its Anglican expression explained his view of what it meant to be a Christian.  In essence, it meant to be accepting and non-judgmental of others.

I was floored that a minister in North Carolina has figured out a way to resolve the “problem of homosexuals and lesbians.”  His solution is “to round them all up and put them in an area surrounded by an electrified fence.”  I have included a link to this story and the video of his “sermon” on the subject.

http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/lookout/pastor-delivers-anti-gay-rant-suggests-building-electric-142753831.html

In order to hold to my principle of being accepting and non-judgmental of others, after I saw this I can only say that if this truly is what Christianity is all about, I guess I read the wrong book.

TWO DEAD PRIESTS

This morning after Gracie and I had completed our early morning walk I brought up my home page to see whether the world outside our neighborhood had held together for yet another night. I was pleased that it had. As my coffee was brewing downstairs I briefly glanced over the stories that Yahoo News thought was worthy of inclusion.

As I looked over the items that were listed I saw one about two priests in Colombia who had been shot to death a little more than a year ago. Apparently, they had hired the hit men who killed them because one of the two priests discovered that he had AIDS.

The article was very brief and I could hear my coffee maker beeping that it had done its job and “x’d” out of the article to enjoy the java and give Gracie her morning chicken jerky treats.

As I sat in the backyard sipping my brew I started thinking about how I might craft this story into a post for this blog. I had a few ideas but in order to develop them I wanted to re-read the story and see if there were any others out there which had fleshed out more details about it.

My thinking was that I might write about the theological basis that the Roman Catholic church has on homosexuality – and how the psychology of having to teach their flock a doctrine that undermined themselves might have played into the decisions of these two priests to hire the hit men who killed them.

I pondered talking about how these two men had decided that suicide (even assisted-suicide) which is viewed as a mortal sin, was preferable to dealing with their homosexuality.

I considered discussing how homosexuality is so counter-cultural to the Latin and Hispanic community and the difficulties that the two Hispanic gay men I know experienced in being shunned and cut off from their families.

I wasn’t quite certain where I was going to take this but I wanted to pursue it.

I was surprised that in a half hour, the story had disappeared from the Yahoo News page. Despite my best efforts to retrieve it I couldn’t find a way to do that within Yahoo. So I went to Google and typed in “Gay Colombian Priests’ Deaths.” Google did the effective job that it normally does and brought up a page of listings which directed me to the material I was seeking.

What I found in looking at the three stories really shocked me more than the subject matter and changed my direction and thinking about what I would post. If you’ve ever played that picture puzzle game where two similar, but not identical images are placed side by side – and your job is to find the differences – you will understand my reason for surprise if you visit each of the three links below which covered this story

 

http://news.yahoo.com/colombian-priests-hire-hitmen-alleged-suicide-152936007.html

 

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2101457/Colombian-priests-hired-hitmen-kill-themselves.html

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/14/colombia-priests-hitmen-suicide_n_1276289.html

Did you notice as I did that under the guise of presenting “news” three separate sources reported the exact same story – including identical verbiage! Is this reporting? What would the people who wrote these stories have done if the Copy and Paste functions didn’t exist within our world of word processing?

Yes there are some cosmetic differences between the three articles – but these pale in comparison to the similarities – like our little puzzle game. And what should concern all of us is that if we rely on un-thinking writers and un-thinking sources for our news – what is it that we are really getting?

There is no doubt that today more than ever our thoughts and ideas are molded by the media. And when all of those media are saying the same thing it is only natural that if we don’t examine our sources critically we can easily be manipulated into believing that what we read or see is the truth.

One of the early magnates in the media business, William Randolph Hearst understood the power that his newspaper empire had when he said,

“You furnish the pictures and I’ll furnish the war.”

 

ON BEING LEFT-HANDED

 During much of the last century, it was common practice in the school systems, both parochial and public, to try to “train” children who were left-handed into becoming right-handed. (Fortunately, I never had to undergo this training as I’m one of the ninety percent of us who naturally writes with their right hand).

This view that someone who is “different” is somehow less of a person or is doing something wrong is rooted not in fact but in superstition. It is not unlike the medieval belief that people who were red-headed were the spawn of the devil – or at least in frequent contact with him.

But the prejudice against left-handed people far precedes the advent of Christianity. While I never expected my tutoring in Latin would have much of a role in my life, let’s go back to that ancient language for a moment.

The Latin word for left is “sinister.” If you look that word up in a thesaurus, you will find the following synonyms – menacing, villainous, base, dark, black, ominous, criminal, corrupt.

The Latin word for right is “dexter.” If you look up dexterous the given synonyms are adroit, able, expert, professional, skillful, talented, masterly.

Co-incidentally, not only are approximately ten percent of our citizens left-handed, it has been estimated that about the same percent are homosexual. I have read a number of studies on this subject that suggest people who are left-handed are ten times more likely to be homosexual than those of us who are right-handed.

This post came about for two reasons.

The first was an outing to the dog park yesterday. The second was an article that I read on Yahoo this morning.

As Gracie, (now cured of the kennel cough she picked up) was romping with some of her friends, I happened to pass two guys whom I had not seen before. As I walked by them one of these fellows made the statement, “Well – what do you expect? After all, he’s a faggot.”

Had I known these two men I would have stopped and made a comment. As it was, I simply turned to them and gave them a look. I consider that statement as offensive as if they had substituted any sort of racial or ethnic epithet in the place of “faggot.”

The second reason for this post is because of a new Turkish movie entitled, “ZENNE Dancer.” It is a story based on a real life “honor killing,” supposedly committed by a religiously conservative father against his only son who was involved in a homosexual relationship.

There are people of good conscience who have radically different views on the subject of homosexuality – some considering it a “learned behavior”, others believing that it is the inevitable outcome of the way that our Creator has made some of us. Both sides are impassioned in their views.

When dealing with emotional issues, I try to remove myself from the emotion and look at things in a logical manner. I seldom find that emotion leads me to finding good answers to life’s questions.

So I thought about the first theory on homosexuality – that it is a “learned behavior.”

My first question was, “Why would anyone want to learn this behavior? What advantages would the pupil achieve by learning how to be a gay man or lesbian woman?”

Frankly, I couldn’t think of any – though I would invite any readers of this post to offer their suggestions. Quite to the contrary, being a member of the LGBT community has significant disadvantages. Those include lack of property rights, spousal benefits, and of course the most obvious, the general scorn from the ninety percent of us who are uncomfortable with these “different” people.

Taking the second view, that people who are homosexual are that way because God has created them so may pose challenges to those who are strict biblical constructionists. But, if that is the case, then they are no more or less “guilty” than is a person who is born black, or white or Hispanic or left-handed.

Human consciousness and understanding is a work in progress. Five hundred years ago, Galileo was forced to recant his discovery and belief that the earth revolved around the sun. And at that time, the “correct” understanding of the world was that it was flat.

Perhaps one day, we will have evolved sufficiently to extend our hand in friendship not only to those who are of a different color or faith but of a different sexual orientation than our own.

Not to do so is to engage in behavior that I can only describe as sinister.

 

 

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