“People’s willingness to believe the most outlandish lie in exchange for a promise of salvation never ceases to amaze me.”
I watched an Independent Lens documentary called “God Loves Uganda” on PBS the other night and was utterly disturbed by it. — Not so much by the movie itself, but by the extent to which white Christian missionaries have gone in order to spread their Anti-Gay hatred globally.
Produced by Roger Ross Williams, “God Loves Uganda” shows the senseless violence that LGBT Ugandans are now faced with because of the vicious lies and hateful propaganda spread by Christian missionaries like Scott Lively.
It’s pretty horrific.
In one scene, we see a pastor tell the crowd that homosexuals hunt and rape children. In another, the pastor shows the crowd pornography depicting anal sex. In yet another, the pastor tells the crowd that President Obama is forcing women to have abortions.
This all can be traced back to the beginning of the AIDS pandemic, when the US began sending much needed medical and financial aid around the globe in an effort to slow the spread of the virus. Then, during the GW Bush administration, strings were attached to that funding. Suddenly, instead of an overall approach of condom distribution and education, American evangelicals demanded “Abstinence-Only” education. …and we all know how well that worked out for the US Bible Belt.
The thing that bothers me most about all of this is the utter disregard for human life. Christian missionaries like Scott Lively will stop at nothing to achieve his goal of demonizing LGBT people around the world. Even lie! His lies have created a dangerous atmosphere for LGBT Ugandans. These pastors don’t understand Ugandan culture. So when they spread lies, perpetuating the myth that gay men are child predators, the locals believe it and take the law into their own hands. Countless LGBT people have been murdered. Many more have gone missing. If God exists, I don’t think he’d approve of hunting LGBT people for sport. Scott Lively, and pastors like him, have blood on their hands.
If you get a chance, “God Loves Uganda” is worth a look-see. It’s a little rough at times but does shine a light on the dishonesty used by Christian fundamentalists who are, in my opinion, no different than any other religious fundamentalist. — Including those vicious animals who have stolen the name of the Egyptian goddess of magic and creator of life, Isis.
As we here in the US celebrate hard won victories in the advancement and acceptance of LGBT rights, I’ll be thinking of those around the world who continue to struggle simply to exist. Especially those whose suffering is a direct result of American interference.
I’m not a very religious person but I still believe in treating others with the respect and care that I wish to be treated.
Mark 12:31 “…Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.”
Leviticus 19:18 “…but thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself…”
Exodus 20:16 “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor”
Ephesians 4:25 “Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.”
John 15:34-35 “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.”
Mathew 7:12 “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”
Luke 6:31 “And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.”
Proverbs 10:9 “Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out.”
Leviticus 19:9-10 ““When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge, neither shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. And you shall not strip your vineyard bare, neither shall you gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner…”
I included that last one from Leviticus because I wanted to show that people who use Leviticus as an argument against homosexuals haven’t read Leviticus, or the Bible, fully. If they had they would know that Leviticus is a rule book for the priests who were in charge of caring for the ark of the covenant. This passage from Leviticus is about not being so selfish that you forget the less fortunate around you.
As stated at the beginning of this post, I’m not a very religious person. I don’t believe legislation should be based on any particular religious doctrine. I do believe in common decency. But when people claim the United States is founded on a Judeo Christian ideal, they are more interested in pushing an agenda than helping their fellow man. If the US was truly based on those ideals, racism wouldn’t be an issue, cops wouldn’t kill unarmed young men, and we wouldn’t be having this conversation.
There’s a ridiculous notion that because you support protesters and stand up for justice that somehow you can’t also support police and law enforcement.
I’m referring, of course, to the ridiculous controversy over the St. Louis Rams showing solidarity with the Ferguson community.
Personally, I think an apology from the Rams is unnecessary. The fact that their act is so controversial shows there is still a race problem in the United States. I find it absurd. The team’s “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” protest didn’t take anything away from anyone. It caused no harm. If anything, it shows awareness of, and support for, fans.
Just because I believe police officers must be held accountable for misdeeds doesn’t mean that I don’t believe that most cops are basically good. Law enforcement is a difficult and thankless job. We demand a lot from cops. We expect them to arrive the minute we call, but then jump on the entire force when one goes rogue. It doesn’t help that the bad cops get all the press. I’ve encountered good and bad cops on both sides of the law. Yes. I was arrested once, during an ACT-UP protest against Bush Sr.One of my arresting officers was unnecessarily violent. — but I digress. I can support law enforcement’s efforts to keep crime at bay and still stand in solidarity with Ferguson protesters. It’s not an either/or scenario. Which brings me to another issue.
There is a difference between protesters and looters. I fully support the Ferguson protesters. Though I completely understand the anger that led to vandalizing and looting, I don’t condone it. Neither do the residents and protesters of Ferguson. So let’s not lump protesters and vandals together.
For those of you who don’t understand why I dislike Reagan so much, here’s a poster from 1987 protesting our president’s silence on the deadliest virus that America had seen.
Think about that for a minute. Hundreds of thousands of Americans were sick and dying, and the American president was silent!
Ronald Reagan’s silence led to the organizing of LGBT protest/action group, The AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power, or “ACT-UP”. Their slogan, “Silence = Death” is based on Reagan’s silence.
So the next time a conservative talks about how great a president Reagan was, ask them if they think it’s okay for an American president to ignore the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans. Ask them if they ever wonder how much closer we might be to finding a cure for HIV had Reagan actually done something.
If it sounds like I’m angry it’s because I AM angry. A whole generation of gay men from artists, writers, athletes, and teachers to doctors, lawyers, friends, lovers, and family, an entire generation was lost because of the callous attitude of Ronald Reagan and his successor, George HW Bush. Those of us who survived watched the ones we loved die all around us.
Both Ronnie and Georgie Sr have blood on their hands.
I am dedicating World Aids Day 2014 to the fighters, the people who stand up for justice. From ACT-UP to protesters in Ferguson, we are all fighting for our lives. Never stop fighting. Sometimes shouting is the only way we’re heard.
I spent most of the day today trying to come up with something brilliant as a tribute to the memory of the many lives lost in, and those affected by, the 2001 terrorist attacks. I wanted to say something about America’s resilience. But looking back at the past four years of childish political posturing, and the increasing frequency of racist violence perpetrated by those entrusted to protect and serve, it’s hard to imagine that we ever all stood together as one United States.
But we did! I saw it with my own two eyes. People with absolutely nothing offered total strangers food to eat, a place to get cleaned up and rest, or just a safe place to sleep for the night. In my own city, which was not directly affected, everyday people did whatever they could. Some traveled to affected areas to join the rescue effort. These were everyday heroes.
Why must Americans be so ugly to one another every chance we get?
For a few months following the September 11th attacks, most of us stood together and pitched in where we could. We did it because we cared. We did it to help heal the open wound. We did it because it was the right thing to do.
But why does it have to take a tragedy for us to treat each other like human beings?
Four decades and Marvin Gaye’s classic is as relevant today, if not more so, as it was on it’s release in 1971.
What happened to the Hippies, the “Peace and Love” generation that was supposed to save the world? Oh, right. Hippies became Yuppies.
I’ll never forget that night. The air was electric with excitement! We had done it. We had achieved something that I never, in my lifetime, thought was achievable. The one image that sticks in my mind is the close up of Jesse Jackson with tears in his eyes. It was what Oprah would have called my “Aha Moment”. It was an instant when suddenly everything clicked into place and I got it. I understood the idea of representation. Here were people who had worked all their lives just to have a seat at the table. Their moment had come. There was a feeling that things were about to change, that everything was possible. We were dancing in the streets!
How could I have been so naive?
If anything, things got worse. I might have guessed that the first black president of the United States would face some difficulty but never in my life did I expect such a deluge of hateful, un-American, bullshit! From Donald Trump’s “Show me your birth certificate” to Mitch McConnell’s famous, “Our top political priority over the next two years should be to deny President Obama a second term.” to Eric Cantor’s government shutdown, no president in the history of these United States has had to put up with the level of disrespect and outright condemnation as this one has.
But this post isn’t about politics. …well, maybe not.
You don’t know how many times I’ve sat down to write something about race in America. It’s been on my mind for a very long time. But what can I, a middle aged white male, add to the conversation that hasn’t already be said by people more intelligent and better qualified than me?
When Michael Brown was shot and killed I couldn’t believe it. Another one!? It seems every time I turn on the news I see a story of a black male being killed at the hands of a police officer or, as in Trayvon Martin’s case, a representative of a neighborhood watch organization. — Seriously, why is George Zimmerman still walking the streets? Every town watch I have ever been part of forbade us from carrying guns. AND… He was told not to follow Trayvon! — What the hell, man? When the shoplifting video came out I thought, so what? Even if Michael Brown was the shoplifter in the leaked surveillance video, he did not deserve to be shot and killed. At worse, Michael made the mistake of struggling with the officer, but that is NOT reason to shoot him to death!
Of course people are angry. I’m angry! But at least I have the luxury, the privilege if you will, to turn off the news and go about my boring life.
And don’t you dare whine to me about “Well… not ALL white people“! I hate that sentence. It’s a lie! Each and every one of us is to blame. We’ve so surrounded ourselves with like minded people that we’ve forgotten that this racist bullshit still runs rampant throughout our community.
So how do we prevent this from continuing?
First, shut up and listen. And while you’re listening, try not to take everything personally. Us white folks need to remember that it’s not always about us. Just because someone is telling you their truth doesn’t mean they are tearing you down. Unless someone is addressing you directly, they aren’t necessarily blaming you. So brush the chip off your shoulder.
Next, When talking with family and friends, don’t be afraid to stand up for what’s right. When someone says or does something offensive, tell them. Otherwise, how else are they gonna know what they’re doing is wrong?
“Historic debate between James Baldwin v. William F. Buckley Jr. at Cambridge University on the question: “Is the American Dream at the expense of the American Negro?” – The Riverbends Channel
James Baldwin was one of the most brilliant minds of our time. He was unapologetic about his blackness and his sexuality. Rightfully so, as there was nothing he could (or should) have done to change either.
I’ve been thinking about writing a piece on racism for quite a while now. But so much has already been said on the subject by people far better qualified than myself. One of whom is the incredibly brilliant James Baldwin.
Note: This video runs about an hour. It’s worth your attention, if for no other reason than to get a glimpse of American history through the eyes of non-US citizens. So if you don’t have the time to watch it now please bookmark it and save it for a future time when you can.
There is an ongoing battle in my neighborhood between residents and teenagers in parked cars blaring loud music. Not once, in the years that I’ve been living here, has any of us pulled a gun on one. single. teenager.
To be sure, blaring your music at top volume, with the bass up so high it shakes my house, is inconsiderate at best. It shows a lack of respect for your neighborhood. It shows the world that you’re the worst kind of ass who’s probably trying to overcompensate for some major insecurities. But it’s not reason enough for me, or anyone for that matter, to take a life.
Most of the time, as with Mr Davis and his pals, it’s just teenagers being teenagers. They haven’t had enough life experience to understand that the people who live in these houses have to get up in the morning to go to jobs they hate, jobs that don’t pay very much, so that they can pay an outrageous amount of rent. They don’t need to listen to some punk kid showing off his bad taste in music. Oh… Don’t think you have bad taste in music? Just wait until you’re an old head like me and some snot nosed kid blasts your house with whatever passes for music at that point.
But I’m in a residential neighborhood where there’s a certain expectation of a reasonable noise level. Something just above a whisper would be nice, but probably unrealistic. Mr Dunn was at a gas station where there is no such expectation.
He was at a friggin gas station convenience store, for crying out loud! It is reasonable to expect that there will be lots of noise! Hell, it’s almost guaranteed!
I can only speak from my own life experience. I am a gay, while male. That is the perspective from which I see the world. When it comes to *people of color, the best I can do is empathize and remember that it’s not always about me.
❇When I say “People of Color”, I’m referring to all ethnic and/or non-white people. Essentially, the majority of people on the planet.
As a gay man, I can easily empathize with any oppressed persons. There are laws prohibiting my very existence. Anti-gay violence is everywhere. It would be easy to compare it to the horrors inflicted upon African American families throughout the history of this great, yet flawed, country of ours. But I have the luxury of never having had my family torn apart and sold as chattel. No one in my family ever risked their lives just to sit at a lunch counter. No one in my family was strung up in a tree and left to die because (s)he misspoke. None of my family was burned out of their home because they moved into a neighborhood with better schools.
Allies don’t always get it right.
The job of an ally is to support and give voice to those whose voice cannot be heard. Unfortunately, we sometimes get so caught up in our own BS that we forget to step aside and give up the spotlight.
I’ve been fortunate to have had good friends and lovers who have had the patience and fortitude to put up with my BS, and show me when and where I was wrong. I didn’t always like it. At times I was downright insulted. How dare they say I’m just as racist as…? Live and learn, right?
The point I’m trying to make is this.
When you hear black folks expressing displeasure about white folks, for any reason, remember it’s not necessarily about you. It could be, but chances are they’re trying to tell you something. All you have to do is shut up and listen.