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Friday, November 30, 2007

The True Face of Values Voters: Theocracy NOW

by @ 7:37 pm. Filed under Atheism, Gay News, hate speech

Poll Shows Americans Have More Faith In Fairy Tales Than Science = Satan- YES Darwin – NO

by @ 3:42 pm. Filed under Atheism

A poll released today shows that 62% of Americans believe in Satan and Hell, while only 42% believe in Evolution. This is sad that our schools have failed so many when it comes to understanding “natural selection” otherwise known as Evolution.

It appears this poll also looked at the different religions to see what else they believe and found that “Born-again Christians are more likely to believe in the traditional elements of Christianity than are Catholics or Protestants. For example, 95 percent believe in miracles, compared to 87 percent and 89 percent among Catholics and Protestants.”

This stuff blows my mind. I am fascinated by what it is people believe despite the evidence. The evidence of evolution is everywhere. If evolution is wrong, then all science is wrong and that is crazy talk. Why on earth is this Country teaching our youth that the known facts are not true? We have got to fix this!

Powerful Anti-Discrimination Gay Rights PSA

by @ 9:49 am. Filed under Nonviolence

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A short answer to fundamentalist christians calling homosexuality a sin.

by @ 7:04 pm. Filed under Gay News

I read this quote at this website I thought was excellent and to the point:

My short answer to someone calling homosexuality a sin:

You seem to sure homosexuality is a sin. Maybe you should let God decide that. God never said a word about it in the original scriptures. Neither did Jesus even mistranslated other than to praise the Centurions love for his slave-boy.

Seems your burden of proof is very great. You seem to have more of an opinion on the issue than God ever expressed.

I would rather stand before God with my teaching of acceptance of all people, just as God created them, without having to change than you having to explain why you caused so much pain with your false teaching and calling something that God never mentioned “sin”.

You seem to want to change what God created. That certainly is a sin you may someday have to answer for not to mention all the hurt and harm Christian abuse of homosexuals creates, for simply being as God created them.

Monday, November 26, 2007

19 Year Old Man Instantly Cured of Homosexuality by Touch of Prophet on Holy Highway!

by @ 1:52 pm. Filed under Atheism, Ex-gays, Exodus, Gay News, Joe's Rants

A 19 year old gay man has claimed that a touch by a prayer team on the “Holy highway” in Texas cured him of his homosexuality. The Christian Broadcast Network is reporting that James Stabile was going from a gay bar to another to “continue getting drunk” when he was approached by a street preacher whose touch cured the man of his homosexuality.

Snippet:

Stabile recounted, “He just barely touched me and he said, ‘Fire!’ and I remember staggering back and I thought I was tripping on acid. It was the weirdest thing ever. And he said, ‘Fire!’ again and I fell in the Holy Ghost.” Stabile said right then he felt God “.just came in and transformed me and radically saved me.”

One thing disappeared immediately: his homosexuality. “I didn’t feel the desires to be with men like I had felt before.” Oden recounted the same story from his side of the event. “We laid hands on him. He was hit by the power of God and filled with the Holy Ghost.got plugged into our church, and is just living for God.”

You are most likely wondering why I am writing about this. Reality is this article is offensive to all of the gay Christians out there who struggle to reconcile their faith and sexuality. I am angry to read this insult to folks who spend years and thousands of dollars trying to change their sexuality just for the Christian media to minimize their struggle with rubbish like this. Just a touch and a prayer and he is cured of being gay while on a highway that prophets in Germany dreamed was written about in the bible. Of course the homo was off getting drunk and clubbing. Why does the Christian media insist on portraying gay people as drunks, sex crazed maniacs and child molesters? I feel so sad when I read these articles because I find them so out of touch with reality.  They are certainly no reflection of any gay person I know.
Look closely at what the kid said “I didn’t feel desires like I had before” but he still feels them? What does he mean when he says “like before”? He didn’t say I don’t feel them anymore he said he doesn’t feel them “like I did before” nor does he say, I just suddenly wanted to shag a chick. He made a very vague statement the Christian media distorted into “instantly”. Alan Chambers, President of the largest Ex-gay organization in the world says this about instant conversions from homosexuality:

Well, the truth is that’s not my story, and it’s not the story of anyone I’ve ever met. I don’t know Ted Haggard’s journey over the last three weeks, but like Mark, I would say that it’s something that — it doesn’t seem like something that is really the case.

Why is it we always hear about the drunk “fags” being cured but we never hear about vets growing their legs back after a trip into the “holy war” over whose god is bigger. Sorry, but if anyone wonders why I am anti-religion it is stuff like this that should answer your question. This is the one place in my life where I struggle to express myself in nonviolent ways. I struggle to express just how this type of article hurts so many with its distortions of homosexuality.

Watch the video of the Purity Sieges at CBN

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Thanksgiving Day Reflections and Thoughts

by @ 7:27 pm. Filed under Atheism, Joe's Rants

I just returned from a long drive to and from central Pa. It is about an 8 hour trip depending on traffic. I am not fond of being in cars due to some issues with my back but some mindfulness training helps to breath right through it. I had some great conversation on the way to Pa. and even better conversation on the way back since I had my favorite travel companion with me, my partner, Rick.

We talked about how there was food drives all over the place trying to make sure everyone had what they needed to celebrate the holiday with a big meal. I appreciate that food banks and charities would use the holiday as a push, but what about the rest of the year? Where is “our” holiday sense of giving in May, June, July and August when our most vulnerable may not have money for a fourth of July BBQ or Tuesday night hot dogs? I wish we could all give the way we do at the winter holidays the whole year long. I hope that you think about this when April comes. For many families April and May are tough months. They have spent more than they had on food, heat and electric. Many are on the countdown to having utilities shut off. Charity doesn’t start and stop in the holiday season, it goes all year, but why don’t we see someone in July ringing a bell and asking for donations outside the Walmart? How about Christmas in July and all the other months?

Rick and I also talked about the “war” on Christmas. To start with, I hate the language of war. I object to the use of “war” metaphor to describe conflict.  It uses terms like war, battle, or attack. When we use metaphors of war to describe or express conflict, we have already made up our minds someone will win and someone will lose. My fear of this language is that those using it plan on winning not looking for a win-win solution that meets everyone’s needs.  I would love to see this Christmas conflict reframed as more of a dance than a war. That way we are doing something peaceful with our energy. Perhaps the Christians and the ACLU are dancing to a different drummer, not hearing the same song, but still they are both dancing. I prefer this language because it sounds human and it has the potential to look at common ground like we are all dancing, rather than “battles, wars and attacks”.

The metaphors we use to examine conflict say much about the end game we hope for. If you see conflict as a war, then you see casualties. When you see conflict as a dance, you see people moving together or at least trying. I prefer more peaceful means.

I did find one huge “hole” in the arguments for a war (dance) on Christmas. Radio stations from Pa. to NY to CT. to RI all played CHRISTMAS music. Not holiday music, but music that spoke of Christ, Jesus, Santa, three kings, etc… I heard no other holidays mentioned during the time we listened to the radio (other than the updated “Alices’ Restaurant”). I am baffled why there is no mention of this from anyone. Jews, Wiccans, Muslims and atheists say nothing about the radio being filled with songs about Christ and nothing about other holidays that come in the same time frame. Jews were not protesting the lack of Chanukah songs on the radio. I see nothing about Muslims complaining about the lack of Ramadan songs and I hear nothing about Wiccans complaining there is not equal time for songs about the winter solstice. This leads me to believe the “war” on Christmas is a hoax. It doesn’t exist. It was created because some are scared that being more inclusive will delute their holiday, but they seem to not take into account what happens to others’ holidays. Doesn’t this lack of concern for others violate the golden rule?

Funny enough, with all the talk, and email alerts from the American Family Association about the war on Christmas, the war seems to be confined to commercial ventures and businesses.   The religious right is upset that Target or Walmart uses inclusive language to sell “holiday” or “Family” trees. They call this the war on Christmas, when it sounds to me like a capitalistic attempt to widen the audience of buyers.

Then I believe the “cherry picking” begins for the Christians. They are all so concerned about what stores use the term Christmas vs. Holiday, but are not at all concerned with the fact that Christmas has become a haven for the sin of gluttony. The sin of excess is more than alive, but there is no war on that from the Christians. Why?

I love Christmas. I hate what it has become which is such a negative vibe. For me it was always about bringing folks together for thoughtful gifts and a good meal. A time to put grudges aside and celebrate life and love. Now, it is about excessive gifts, competition and Christians touting how it is their holiday (after they stole it from the pagan religions) and it cannot be messed with…..I miss the old days of Christmas where we got to see people we hadn’t seen and spread love and cheer.

On a lite note, I had a million reasons to be thankful this year. I spent another holiday with my beautiful best friend and partner, Rick. I got to spend the holiday with family and friends I really enjoy. I had my two pups with me and I had a few days of reading and relaxing. Who could ask for more….

Friday, November 23, 2007

“Cable Choice” is a double-edged sword.

by @ 5:42 pm. Filed under Gay News

Many Christians are already beginning to realize the true effect that “cable choice” would have on christian cable stations. In fact in a snippet a christian broadcaster had something really pertinent to say:

But the Christian networks’ main concern is that the only ones willing to subscribe would be Christians. If a la carte were in existence, May argues, conversion experiences for alcoholics and people contemplating suicide or suffering from a crumbling marriage never would have happened.

“If you obligate viewers to pre-select religious service, you are essentially going to find yourself witnessing to the choir,” May said. “In combination, all of these networks have literally thousands and thousands of anecdotal stories of people who were channel-surfing that came across one of their services and it changed their life for the better.”

But in the same article Concerned Women and the Parents Television Council said:

But such Christian groups as Concerned Women for America say lives would be better with the a la carte plan.

“Unfortunately, the number of inappropriate programs far outweighs the number of good,” said Lanier Swann, the group’s director of government relations. “Our issue is to protect families.”

Dan Isett, director of corporate and government affairs for the conservative group Parents Television Council, argues that religious broadcasters on localized cable services would not be affected by a pick-and-choose cable choice plan. He said the policy might even grant more opportunities for fledgling networks not owned by major multimedia corporations.

So basically evangelism isn’t near as important as their agenda to kill stations like logo and mtv. And Dan’s argument that cable channels such as localized religious channels won’t be affected is simply missing the point, as of now with the current programming TBN, CBN and BYU channel are available to all including athiests, muslims, jews, hindus, budhists, and non-church goers, with A la carte programming the only subscribers will be fellow christians effectively ending all evangelizing efforts on television. I’m sorry to inform right-wing christians but you can’t have your cake and eat it too. In this case its either all or nothing.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

SPEAK PEACE in a World of Conflict by Marshal Rosenberg

by @ 9:34 pm. Filed under Nonviolence, Nonviolent Communication

Keeping with my need to learn new tools of making peace in the world, I wanted to direct folks to the latest book I have just finished. Speak Peace in a World of Conflict is a wonderful introduction to Nonviolent Communication (NVC). I have had the pleasure of taking a one day workshop in NVC and also reading several books in the subject. This has been the most influential stuff I have ever read when it comes to learning to speak in a way that connects me to other people’s feelings, needs and thoughts. It also works to connect others with my needs, feelings and thoughts. This is the stuff that reduces violence and meets needs of masses.

Rosenberg has used this to mediate world conflict and war. He has used this to transform lives in all parts of the world. Developed to address the questions of why some people work so hard to enrich life and other seem to take pleasure in creating pain. NVC taps into the needs that drive us as humans and teaches us to connect in way never thought possible. Truth is they are possible.

I would advise you to take a chance on this book regardless of your sexuality, religious beliefs of other “labels” as it really tackles the main mistakes of communication we all make. I wold urge Peter La Babera, DL Foster, Stacy Harp and all of my buddies in the anti-gay world to read this. It shows you the damage of what you are currently doing but shows you new ways to increase the effectiveness of what you are doing in a way that does not hurt or damage people. I must admit that if I saw anti-gay advocates using this process I would have little room to argue with them.

I also ask Wayne Besen, Andrew Sullivan, or Joe Solomese to read it. Especially Chapter nine where he talks about social change though Nonviolent Communication. I truly believe this would change Wayne forever and make him the strongest advocate for gay rights ever seen. I have always admired Wayne’s energy for change (or should I say against change) but I have always imagined that Besen would have an impact of a peace bomb on gay rights if he would embrace a new tactic that didn’t involve insulting those who disagree with him. That same energy charged with this tool of peace and hate and false science will have no chance.

I would ask many of our pro-gay writers and advocates to read this book even though I know they won’t. I challenge them to do it anyway. Peace is possible no matter what they say. Gay rights are part of that peace, but we can’t win “AGAINST” anti-gay people we need to win “OVER”

These are the tools you need to do that!

Cherry Picking Belief Systems

by @ 6:53 pm. Filed under Atheism

I was having a somewhat interesting conversation over at Gay Christian Movement Watch. It is worth a read. A few things to note is that DL Foster in the end didn’t post my last comment and ended telling me he has a “Zero tolerance” policy regarding gay ideology. In my eyes that is the same as putting your fingers in your ears and singing “lalalalalalala” but I understand why DL would need to do that sort of thing.

Anyway, the conversation and post that sparked it were about “cherry picking” the bible. It was my claim and still is, that it is impossible to be a Christian and not Cherry Pick your beliefs from the book. It is impossible to believe everything in the bible and be consistent as the book is not. Even in the context it is written, considering who it was written for, there is no way of being a Christian without disregarding certain texts that either don’t make sense anymore or that go against logic and reason.

For instance, the Jesus Christ told his followers to hate their parents and family. So, do we disregard that?

Luke 14:26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.

How do we get to choose what verses to follow and which ones to ignore as “irrelevant”?

How do Christians manage to disregard some stuff and demand other stuff in the bible. At one point in the bible (don’t ask me what verse) Jesus Christ states that he did not come to bring peace but the sword. (I am not sure I remember that perfectly, but close) in another spot in the bible Christ says in the garden after being arrested that “those who live by the sword die by the sword”…so which is it?

I have a hard time understanding how anyone who believes in a literal reading of the bible can ignore these things but expect the world, and the government adhere to this as an ideology that we all should be following.

I use to not care so much about who believed in what but after seeing how inflexible some people can be with their belief systems and seeing how unwilling they are to flex and respect others beliefs as just as sound as there’s. It is that inflexibility that causes such wars and violence. As soon as we proclaim that our version is the right version of the truth with no respect or flexibility towards other beliefs, we are on a path that can only lead to violence.

Monday, November 19, 2007

BE AFRAID! VERY AFRAID!

by @ 7:46 pm. Filed under Atheism, Gay News

It appears that right winger bloggers are just pickled about Chuck Norris supporting their buddy, Mike Huckabee for president by doing an TV Commercial. The problem with this is that Huckabee supports the teaching of creationism in our schools. Chuck Norris on the other hand supports destruction of all religious freedoms for anyone not Christian by teaching bible classes in public schools. Should your child be an atheist, Muslim or Hindu please note that your religious freedom is not as important as the fundamentalist Christians.

Sadly, it is these same Christians that believe and tell others that the homos want to take over the schools. It appears it would be more true of them….

Update: I just sat and read the comments left about this video.  The intolerance and violence of words towards Chuck Norris and his wife are horrible.  The reason, I believe, is that we have not been taught better response skills.  Better conflict management tools.  I wish we taught kids conflict skills so they can handle things they disagree with in a better way.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

LaBarbera Seen Through the Light of Justice

by @ 5:30 pm. Filed under Americans For Truth, Gay News, Nonviolence

Gandhi led his followers to the salt factory where they were systematically beaten. Gandhi wanted the world to see the injustice. He wanted to bring injustice into alight where all could see it. Film crews captured the beatings. The world saw the injustice.

Martin Luther King called on his followers to do similar things. He asked them to never fight back. Never resort to violence even if it is inflicted on you. The world saw this horror over and over. Injustice was brought to a new light where it could be dealt with in ways it has never been dealt with. Freedom came because people were forced to think about their stand on the issues. There were forced to see the humanity and the violation of that humanity.
In order for hate, injustice and brutality to change, we have to see it. It needs to be brought out into the light of day where we can examine it, talk about, and ultimately change it. This is done even more effectively when we can bring such things into the light through nonviolence. Much like King and Gandhi, much like Buddha and Christ, we can effect change in millions when we fight injustice not people.

Fred Phelps has been another catalyst of change. He brought homophobia into the light where people could stop and think about just “why” is it people dislike gays and is that reason enough to proclaim god hates them? His face has become the symbol of change from fear, hate and intolerance to a more reasoned approach to gays and lesbians. People needed to see that the monsters Phelps talks about are not the brothers, sisters, father, and mothers that people know and love to be gay.

Now, on to Peter LaBabera, the Executive Director of the group “Americans for Truth about Homosexuality.” See Peter is in the same boat with Phelps. His outrageous tactics (like Phelps protesting funerals) of going to extreme sex conventions and sex clubs to show gay people are perverts is getting people to question the gay folks they know vs. the picture that LaBarbera is painting. People see that the pictures don’t add up. LaBarbera’s tactics of trying to link gay and lesbians to child abuse is also catching the eyes of people and getting them to see him for what he is, desperate for attention and cash.

LaBarbera is doing what he can do put the fear of gays into others, so they will put dollars into his pocket. Peter’s need for money is coming at a price in human lives. The issue for Peter is that people are beginning to see through his charade. They are seeing clearly, in the light of justice, that the “Homosexuals” that he paints a picture of don’t match the reality people know. As long as Peter continues this charade of demonizing gays, like Phelps is also doing, he is going to look more and more extreme and the reason for that is simple, people know better. In the end, much like Phelps, Peter LaBarbera and Americans for Truth are doing gay rights a favor by helping America see what hate looks like.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Heart of the Beholder – Web Theater

by @ 8:37 pm. Filed under Atheism, Ex-gays

Perdue fools the masses with prayer hoax

by @ 1:29 pm. Filed under Atheism, Joe's Rants

Governor Perdue, the Georgia Governor who staged a “pray in” to make it rain fooled many including himself into believing that prayer can make it rain. Fact is when the man called for the prayer session on the steps of the Georgia capital building, rain was already in the forecast. Who was he kidding?

“Prayer is the adult version of a letter to Santa” was posted as a comment on one news site. I chuckled when I saw that, but also I agree. Prayer, while calming and hopeful for millions has been shown to be a hoax. Most believers don’t want to believe it but the reality is that you have a 50% chance of having the exact same outcome whether you prayed or didn’t pray. A study, released in 2006 showed that patients being prayed for in actuality did worse than those not being prayed for. It is believed the prayers created expectations that caused patients to have more complications.

I think what baffles me the most about this story is that people have to pray for rain. If this god they say exists does exist, would he not want to take care of them without them having to beg? I also want to know why this “god” would choose to make it rain in Georgia where people are still living comfortably compared to Africa where lack of rain has been killing millions of people for decades?

I would also like to know why believers in god would pooh-poo an Indian rain dance as effective, but jump up and down that Purdue’s prayer service made it rain?

My comment left on the Washington Post site:

They prayed and it rained, but it only rained slightly not enough to even dent the issue of the lack of water. Is this god’s idea of a sick joke? Would he also give a slice of bread to a starving child and call that an answer to prayers?

If this tiny little but of rain is the answer to a prayer, then god must give a penny to every person that prays for million dollars. A god who does this must have no problem curing someone of their cold, but leaving them with cancer.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Evidence of Hate: Peter LaBarbera

by @ 1:39 pm. Filed under Americans For Truth, Atheism, Gay News

I happen to catch this little paragraph from the Americans for Truth website in a post that trys desparately to demonize all GLBT folks as perverts.  Peter tries to link just about every fetish out there with gay people.   Problem for Peter is that his story only provides evidence he “hates” gay people since he neglects to give you ALL the information.  Peter neglects to point out that just as many heterosexuals engage in festish activities as homosexuals.  Anyway, I will let you read this absurd notion, then break it down below:

The truth that homosexual practitioners and their defenders hate to hear is this: it’s all perversion: homosexuality, bisexuality, transsexuality, sadism, masochism, BDSM, rubber-mania and assorted “fetishes.” The good news is that God is long on mercy and grace, and He will take you back if you believe in His Son and humbly repent — no matter what you once did or how you once identified yourself.

As I have said before the difference between hate speech and religious opposition to homosexuality is the end result of the speech.  Does the writer want the reader to hate GLBT folks or see them as “bad people”.  The answer here is clear.  Peter wants you to believe the gay people are all perverts who enage in bad behaviors.   Reality is that heterosexuals engage in the same behaviors, but he doesn’t talk about that.  He also want you to believe “all” gay people engage in this list of fetishes when in reality only a small percentage of gays and lesbians take any interest in such acts.

Peter follows this rubbish and hate with a crazy notion that people should repent.  I have learned that the word “repent” really means “believe and do as I do” because anything less than that is usually not good enough.   Peter is trying to convince others that gay people can change their sexuality through GOD, the issue I have with this is multi-layered.  First, Peter needs to convince me their is a god.   I cannot choose to repent by his standards because I cannot choose to believe in god, especially his.   No one is capable of making themselves believe in god.  This is easily demonstrated by asking yourself to believe in one of the many gods you don’t, can you?   I cannot make myself believe in Peter LaBarbera’s version of god anymore than Peter can “make” himself believe in Thor or Ganesh.  So, this whole call to others to repent sounds good on paper but doesn’t hold up to reason and rational thinking.   Rational people know that you cannot make yourself believe something simply by choice.  There must be evidence to spark belief and a “choice” is not evidence.

Peter is asking people to believe that folks can change their sexual orientation, but it appears you can only achieve this scientific event through unscientific means.   If it were true that people could change such innate pieces of self, then it would be possible for this to be done without “god.”   So we now have two things Peter is claiming that have absolutely no evidence of truth:  1) Evidence that one can “choose” to repent when they do not believe in god and 2) people can change their sexual orientation (with or without the help of this “god”).

Peter isn’t interested in telling the truth as he states.  He is filling his need to make others dislike and fear homosexuals as much as he does.  He needs to believe this and he needs you to believe it.   The question will always remain, why?

Monday, November 12, 2007

Ex-Exgay Conference Video

by @ 5:24 pm. Filed under Ex-gays, Gay News, Nonviolence

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