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Friday, February 29, 2008

Recent Victims of Hate Crime Incidents Remembered and Acknowledged

by @ 8:08 pm. Filed under Gay News, Hate Crimes, hate speech

I know I haven’t been blogging much lately, but I wanted to set time aside today to remember and acknowledge some of the recent victims of hate crimes I have seen in the news. The following people have been victims of anti-gay hate crimes and my thoughts and wishes for healing go to all involved:

Simmie Williams, Jr.

Age: 17 years old and openly gay. Shot down in Ft Lauderdale, Florida on February 22, 2008.

 

 

 

Lawrence King: Oxnard, California

Age 15: Shot by his friend Charlie on February 12, 2008 for being gay and asking Charlie if he would be his Valentine.

lawrence king

 

Craig Gee

Age Unknown, was beaten in January 2008 after walking hand in hand with his male partner in Darlinghurst, Austrailia

craig-gee.jpg

 

Tommy Davis

Age 31, run over with a car on September 18, 2007 after leaving his place of employment which happens to be a gay bar in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Video is available here

 

Melbourne Brunner

Age unknown, was beaten in a Ft. Lauderdale, Florida eating establishment for being gay.

 

 

Ellen Speaks out: Time to change the message!

by @ 6:47 pm. Filed under Hate Crimes, hate speech

ELLEN: “On February 12th, an openly gay 15-year-old boy named Larry who was an eighth-grader in Oxnard, California was murdered by a fellow eighth-grader named Brandon. Larry was killed because he…was gay. Days before he was murdered, Larry asked his killer to be his Valentine…And somewhere along the line the killer Brandon got the message that it’s so threatening and so awful and so horrific that Larry would want to be his Valentine that killing Larry seemed to be the right thing to do. And when the message out there is so horrible that to be gay you can be killed for it, we need to change the message.”

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Presidential Elections, Updates, Quotes, Thoughts and News

by @ 8:19 pm. Filed under Americans For Truth, Gay News, Hate Crimes, hate speech, Nonviolence, Nonviolent Communication

Presidential Elections

To start with, I am going to reveal who I am voting for this election….OBAMA! Why??? Two really big reasons, the first being that Daily Kos is reporting that Obama may have some knowledge of Nonviolent communication. From watching him in debates I might believe this. Either way, I think he has more of a peace mind than any other candidate and he is against the war in Iraq. Second, I have major reservations about Clinton. I feel angry when I see her attack campaign tactics. I just don’t want to vote for someone whose idea of a campaign is to trash the other guy rather than promote their own ideals.

I borrowed this photo from Andy:

I know more about what Hilliary dislikes about Obama than I do about what she WILL do for this Country. I find that frustrating. I need to understand and feel moved by the candidate for whom I vote and it isn’t Sen. Clinton. I feel scared that if this is how she handles rough water in the campaign, how will she handle rough waters in the light of war?

Aside from all of that, I support Clinton should Obama not win the ticket. I will do this more so because I do not feel confident with McCain behind the wheel and I think I would move to Canada should Huckabee ever by some off the cuff chance ever be elected. I respect that he wants to shake things up, but his denial of evolution makes me nervous.

Site Updates

Well, the site is still running at 1/4 speed. I actually have an open ticket with ipower support and have had no response. I just need to move the site to a new server. I apologize the site is so slow, but on the other hand maybe it is a sign to pack it in. I have been at this for a few years and I wonder if it isn’t time to just move on? I really think we will win civil rights for gays and lesbians in the courts. I am not sure that we will ever change anyone’s mind with a web-site, but hell I could be wrong and just feeling cynical.

Quotes

“live simply, so that others may simply live”

Anyone reading this site or who knows me personally knows that my role model and hero is Mohandas Gandhi. I truly believe he was on to something about creating peace in the world. Peace is important to me because it means less violence, it means justice. It means that we live our lives in ways that allow all of us to be our best.

To move closer to this vision and this quote, my partner and I will be selling our home and downsizing our lives. We wish to live more simply, so other can simply live. We hope to get it down to one car and I want a smaller place that uses less energy and with less land to manage. No more 250 foot driveway when it snows….no more football field of lawn to cut…. I want less work around the house, so I can devote more time to the causes and hobbies I love. I also want to be able to travel more, do more and see more. (sounds like a PBS commercial). So, on the market the house goes…I want to return to music, return to art but also start teaching nonviolence, mediation and nonviolent communication.

Some part of me would love to live in a hut someplace and start teaching young kids how to farm and sustain life. It is more in line with my beliefs about the world than the stuff I am currently doing. I believe the only true way to create peace in the world is to get out there and do it.

Thoughts

I have enjoyed very much hanging out with the folks over at this Christian website. They had a few lengthy discussion about Peter LaBarbera and his mission, homosexuality and other stuff, but I think my time posting there is reaching the end. I just don’t think we will learn much from each other as people there like most place seem to want to convert me to their religion. I feel so sad that so many people are trapped into fundamentalist religions. The whole idea of strict, black and white thinking is dangerous. Aside from that, think of all those ideas that get wasted when people control their thinking and ideas to such boxes. Either way, I am striving to figure out how to live in a world that is mainly religious now that I really no longer believe and that I have been awakened to the dangers of believing in mythology without evidence.

News

Well, there is not much good news or at least I didn’t see much. Another young life was shaken by hate in Ft Lauderdale, FL. when a man was beaten senseless for being gay. This happen less than 24 hours after a young gay man was gunned down in a recent hate attack at the young age of just 17 years old. This is the same town with the anti-gay mayor, Jim Naugle who I wrote about in my first issue of “get” magazine. I can’ t help but wonder if the rise in hate crimes in this tourist resort is not due to the right wing propaganda. I can’t say it is, but I also can’t help but point out all the right wing rhetoric against gays in the same town that has seen a murder and a beating against gays and transgendered people all in a short time frame.

At the same time, the right wing groups who claim such compassion for gays and lesbians are taking their usual silent approach to these murders. No world from Peter Labarbera stating his disgust for the recent violence. No outcry for peace or compassion from Exodus International. I can’ t say I am not a little angry about that, I am!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Nonviolence in Action: Peterson Toscano

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

Ex-Gay Watch is hooking people up to an Mp3 of Peterson Toscano on a conservative radio talk show in Memphis discussing the newly formed “Beyond Ex-Gay.” I felt so inspired by Peterson’s empathy, compassion and patience for the shows host, guest and callers. Peterson really moved me when he said that Christians need to listen to each others stories. I admire Peterson for this great display of how I think we will win gay rights with empathy and understanding.

Check it out here at Ex-Gay Watch

Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Last Weeks of Winter

by @ 8:04 pm. Filed under Americans For Truth, Nonviolence, Nonviolent Communication

As some of you know, I live in New England and again we have been hit by lots of the white fluffy stuff. This has left me in the house all weekend minus the few hours I went out snow blowing, not to be confused with blowing snow. I have a 250 foot driveway with neighbors who are disabled and unable to do their own 150 foot driveway. Needless to say, that was the extent of me getting out of the house these past two days. I have entertained myself by chatting in this great Christian Blog where just about all the posters are very friendly and I have very much enjoyed posting there.

It all started with a post supporting Peter LaBarbera and his organization, AFTAH. Then a post questioning the effectiveness of groups like Peter’s AFTAH. Then a rebuttal to the post questioning Peter’s tactics from the original commenter who supported Peter.

I have had lots of time to hang around my computer this weekend, so I have been having some great conversation on this site. Peter LaBarbera has also been there with some thoughts and feelings about me. Thats okay, I don’t mind pretty much anything Peter has to say about me. I know that it is more about him than me.

Below is my reply to the latest, heated rebuttal. I really wanted to understand where this person is coming from and what they feel and need in this post. We shall see if Ingrid would like to connect and understand me in the same way.

I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge what I think and believe are Ingrid feelings and needs in this post.

Ingrid writes: Nathan Neighbour’s attack against Peter LaBarbera and Americans for Truth is covered in the post below.

Joe replies: It sounds (and I hope she will correct me if I am wrong anywhere here, but I would like to understand your feelings and needs) like Ingrid is feeling hurt and needing reassurance that the post was not a shot at her. I am assuming that when she made her original post in support of AFTAH that it came from a deep place and now feels angry that place has been violated. I hope Ingrid will clarify if I am wrong.

Ingrid also writes: (Nathan works with Mosaic, Erwin McManus’s church.) Sitting safely behind his computer, he can afford to be a critic. But how many clueless American evangelicals go about their business utterly unaware of what is going on in the homosexual battle for America.

Joe replies: I hear that you are feeling scared and frustrated and needing understanding for how you see the culture issue of homosexuality. You seem to feel respect for Peter’s efforts and frustration that others are not seeing what you are seeing. Again, I hope I am connecting with your feelings, but please correct me if I am wrong.

Ingrid writes: You don’t believe me? Peter was there at the Folsom Street Fair in San Fransisco. I would not recommend anyone click on this link from his report unless they have a strong stomach. The tax-funded police stood by and watched the entire thing.

Joe replies: Are you feeling unsure we will trust you and what you are saying? I also sense you are disgusted by what you have seen at this fair and how others did nothing to stop what you believed to be wrong. It sounds like you are angry that the police did not see what you saw and react like you would have liked? Do I have this correct?

Ingrid continues: Offended that I’m linking to this? I’m offended that this is happening in America while the Nathans of the evangelical church take pot shots at those who oppose it. You want this sort of thing our nation’s streets, Nathan? Does it make me a homophobe because I don’t and will vocally oppose it? How much worse does it have to get?

Joe replies: Ingrid, it sounds like you are afraid it will get worse. It also sounds like you are needing a sense of safety from these things not just for yourself but others.

If I have connected accurately with what is alive for you, Ingrid, I would really like to share with you what I am feeling about this issues and the Folsom Fair. Would you be willing to tell me if I understood your post and the needs behind it and if you would be willing to hear what I would like to share with you?

Thanks,
Joe

I am feeling encouraged and hope some good understanding comes from this. Let’s see….

Friday, February 22, 2008

Wishing Our Happy Blogger, Adam Kautz a Happy Birthday

by @ 12:01 am. Filed under Site News

Wish Adam the very best on his birthday!  We thank you for all your work here on the blog!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

SIte News

by @ 10:25 am. Filed under Site News

This is the second time I am writing this post, because the database or my host is having issues.   I am aware the site has gotten very slow and pokey.  I use ipower hosting who for many years, were great.  They have really gone down hill and their once patient and helpful tech support folks have become arrogant and unhelpful.

I am currently looking to move the blog away from ipower but that doesn’t sounds easy.   I will keep you updated.

Please let me know if it has been slow for you to look at this site.

-Joe

Quick Thought on Judgment Day

by @ 9:27 am. Filed under Atheism, Joe's Rants

I happen to be reading through the morning blogs I tend to read and I saw a comment on GCMW where they are of course chatting about the meanings of the bible.  The commenter says, “verse 43 if you are a child of the devil, you better listen! Judgement is inevitable!”

I thought to myself, “judgment?”  What a concept this is.   Let me get this clear for myself.   An all knowing god is going to judge me at the end of my time here on earth?   What is this all knowing being going to say to me, “You did everything I knew you would do before I even created you, now go to hell, you didn’t do what I wanted you to do”

Why again do people believe in the judgment of god? If he created you, fully knowing in the end you would be sent to hell, why then did he create you?  Was he trying to be nice or be a jerk?  Why would he create you, knowing you are bound for hell?

There are many reasons I lost my belief in god, but this was up there on the list.   It seems like one of those across the board beliefs shared by many religions, that god will judge us on judgment day.   The idea of it never made any sense to me and while my priest as a child tried his best to have it makes sense, I think he made it more clear for me, it would never make sense.  

The paradox of it is pretty clear.   God cannot know everything about you, know you are destined for hell (which he must have created if he created everything or satan would have the same creational power as god making him too, a god) and still claim to love you when he creates you.   It would be about the same as creating a beautiful painting fully knowing you were going to set it on fire and destroy it.   How cruel is that.

There is no way of avoiding the idea that hell was created by god or that satan has the same power to create as god.  The proof of this would be hell.  How did this place called hell come to be?  Does Satan have the same powers as god?   I could go on in my mind with this for days, but I will stop allowing that because it is silly.  The answer that best fits the problem for me at least, there is no god.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

American Idol, Dancing With the Stars and other unrealities

by @ 10:17 pm. Filed under Nonviolence

I just needed to vent my anger at the lack of reality in reality TV. Needed to mention how angry it makes me that just about Everyone knows who Josiah Lemming is but no one has a clue who Chad Groepper is. Perhaps a google search will clue you in why this brings such anger for me.

I like Josiah Lemming, he is adorable and has a great talent, but I think the media needs to spend the same energy on the daily lives lost and not for our freedom, but stubborn hearts!

Peace! Think Peace!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Indoctrination of Youth and not by the Homo’s

by @ 9:46 am. Filed under Atheism, hate speech

I really found this video to be frightening. These poor kids will grow up believing whatever they have been taught by their folks regardless if it makes any rational sense and regardless of any damage it can do to others. I think their should be laws about this, but I am not sure it would solve the real issue.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

More Violence, More Shootings, What can you do to stop it?

by @ 12:21 am. Filed under Gay News, Nonviolence, Nonviolent Communication

My heart grows heavier each time I read about another school shooting. Another young gunman who goes into a school and starts shooting and ending lives too soon. Immediately the news media starts painting a picture of mental illness that stigmatizes everyone with a mental illness. (Studies show people with mental illness are far more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators.)

Right away, we look for someone to be right and someone to be wrong. We look for someone to blame, to be afraid of or to punish. We rarely see, as a community, that everyone including the shooter, is a victim. It is easier to see them as a psycho or a crazy man than a human being. This saddens me more and more each time. It is easier to use terms for people that remove their humanity, create enemy images and lead us to a place where people lose compassion and empathy for others. A place filled with violence we could avoid.

The past fews years of studying violence, nonviolence and peace have shown me a few things so clearly, Americans have little or no conflict management skills. We also have limited skills in our own emotions. Half of the time when we ask someone how they feel, the answer is not even an emotion. We say things like “I feel like…” or “I feel as if” or “I feel you…” and rarely are those words followed by a real emotion we own. Our vocabulary of emotions and words to describe our feelings is limited at best. When asked how we are feeling we say, “good” but “good” is not an emotion, so how exactly are we feeling it?

These unrecognized feelings, buried angers and repressed resentments are killing us as a society. Complimented by a steady stream of messages to our youth that violence is hip, cool and trendy. Violence and force mean power, they get you a higher score. This is a recipe for disaster. That disaster is playing itself out on school grounds. When will we wake up and try something new? Perhaps teach them as young as we can to have conflict management skills, feeling sills and need skills.

We would fare better if we learned ways of connecting with each other rather than putting each other on the defense. It is when we feel we need to prove things to defend ourselves that violence follows. Men feel they need to prove their manliness and end up in prisons for beating their wives. Young girls are trying to prove the strength to other girls by vicious rumors on myspace pages driving other girls to suicide.

I would love to see us stop seeing each other based on the notion of what each of us deserves. For those we love, we tell them what they deserve. We say “You are so good” which is a simple way of saying you deserve good things, you should be rewarded. On the other hand we have it embedded in our minds what those we see as bad deserve. We can move past this. We can learn better ways. We can live our lives without moral judgments like good, bad, right, or wrong.

We create enemy images of each other based on the labels we have given them. We call them right, wrong, good, bad, Godly, ungodly, holy, unholy or worthy or unworthy. One site I had left a comment on called me a reprobate. These are labels that predetermine what we deserve. Who are we to think we can determine what people deserve?

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Another Dead Kid Because of Hate

by @ 9:49 pm. Filed under Americans For Truth, Gay News, Hate Crimes, hate speech

I see that the 15 year old who was shot and killed at his school because he dressed like a girl. That was it. The killer is an eighth grader (14 years old) who will probably be tried as an adult and is also being charged with a hate crime.

I could say a lot about this 14 year old. It is tragic, and this is something that could have been avoided. Instead you have people like Peter LaBarbera, DL Foster and the rest of their buddies calling gays and lesbians wicked and evil. So, an impressionable 14 year old hears these messages and takes it into his own hands to deal with it. We now have a dead 15 year old because of it. The messages that these anti-gay activists spread in the name of religion are poison and this is one result of that poison.

The Ventura County School system has a program for middle school kids to teach tolerance and acceptance (something that DL Foster, Peter LaBarbera, Mark at Chesterstreet and all the rest of the anti-gay crusaders are totally against and fight against). But it wasn’t enough and you have people who I just mentioned that fight tooth and nail against these programs. They must know that their actions have repercussions. In fact, just the other day Peter LaBarbera wrote a post with the words Tranny Insanity. Here are some words from the anti-gay activist about an 8 year old (and I don’t know if Lawrence King would have become a transexual–now we’ll never know):

In the case of the eight-year-old boy, to what future are the politically correct adults — parents and school authorities included — consigning him with their “caring” embrace of deviance?

And more to the point:

Also note that the Colorado school principal frames this as an issue of “diversity” — showing the elasticity of that term to include extremely disordered behavioral choices among even the youngest students. This story and the way it is being reported is a microcosm of America’s deep moral crisis.

Peter LaBarbera is against diversity. He spreads his hate and some people listen. I wonder if that 14 year old had heard some of the message spouted against diversity by people like LaBarbera?

I don’t know how these people live with themselves.

This is the reason why we can never stop fighting against the hate that they believe is based on religion. This is why we must never let the so-called religious message of Peter LaBarbera and DL Foster (and all the rest of their buddies–you know who you are) become the law of this country. We’ll see a heck of a lot more dead people if that ever happens.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Greetings and Salutations!

by @ 11:06 pm. Filed under hate speech, Nonviolence, Nonviolent Communication

I apologize for not writing so much, I hope you all can tolerate the lack of words I have. I really wanted to try and post daily about the Season for Nonviolence but I have not been able to do that as well as I had planned. I hope what you do find here on the site meets your needs for information!

In other news, I had a brief but interesting exchange with the Rev. DL Foster (and friends) over at his blog regarding some quotes Rev. Foster felt were promoting HIV/AIDS. I actually made my first video blog about it, but had so much trouble trying to edit and upload it, I gave up. It was a good learning experience, and I will try again next Monday night. In the readers digest condensed version, DL took some quotes out of context, decided what they meant for himself and made some moral judgments about what they meant. What I would have preferred from DL would have been the Marshall Rosenberg formula of Nonviolent Communication (NVC). This is a way of expressing yourself and communicating your opinion without moral judgments, demands, or verbal violence. The first step would be to observe without moral judgment, evaluation or diagnosis of others. The second step is to state how that observation makes you feel. This of course should actually be a feeling, an emotion. The word “feel” cannot be followed by anything but an emotion. Saying I feel “like” isn’t stating a feeling. The Third step is stating your needs and the last step is to state a clear request. While I have way-over-simplified this process, my goal was to peak you interest.

If DL Foster had followed the formula of NVC, it would have looked something like this (I am guessing on DL Foster’s feelings and translating them into NVC):

“When I saw the quotes made about HIV changing your life in positive ways (OBSERVATION), I felt angry (FEELING). I have a need for protection for those who are not HIV Positive (NEED). I fear telling people anything positive about being HIV positive will result in some thinking it is “hip” or “Positive” to be HIV positive. (more needs and feelings) Would you be willing to put a disclaimer into the article using these quotes that clarifies their intentions?” (A clear, positive action request)

What would happen if DL Foster (or other pro family activists) learned NVC? It means he might actually get what he is hoping for, but for the right reasons. Right now he hopes to scare people into salvation wit the fear of hell and brimstone, but I might suggest that he try asking people nicely to do things, not of out fear, but out of love. I would always be happy to show him or he could read it himself.

I am still writing for “get” magazine, but have to admit I find it a challenge when I have a full time + day job and a partner and two dogs and a website and a website business and I want to live a nice life. I have been feeling a but stressed lately by time. There doesn’t seem to be enough of it, times that is. I have been reading my Google Reader and I have seen some great stuff coming from Queerty and Box Turtle Bulletin. So much is happening that back in the day, I would have been covering that I don’t have the time, and sometimes no longer the patience to cover. I admire Jim Burroway for sticking this out tirelessly and so accurately but also with such compassion for those who oppose gay life. Jim’s articles are well written and informative and I hope more people take his lead as a way to report on the anti-gay forces.

I offer you my gratitude that you have kept up with my blog and I hope you will continue to stop by, but know that my ability to keep up like I use to has faded. I have to say my drive to do it has faded a little as it seems we keep going around in circles with the pro-family folks and never really get anywhere. They think we are evil, we think they are evil. I would like to move past that and I know it can be done, but it has been my desire to see that happen that has limited my posts here on this site.

Stay tuned! Never know where I will be in my thoughts….but I do wish Kevin and Doug a Happy House Warming.   Know that I feel warm and fuzzy knowing you have a home of your own!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Foundational Falsehoods of Creationism

by @ 11:17 am. Filed under Atheism

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

A Season for Nonviolence: 64 Ways in 64 Days – Day 8

by @ 8:04 pm. Filed under Nonviolent Communication, Season for Nonviolence

Today is DAY 8 of 64 ways in 64 days: A Season for Nonviolence. The theme today is healing. I think, considering how angry I am after reading this call for the money at the expense of gay people, healing is hard for me to think about in the light. I think the pain we all carry in our day to day lives is rough. I think it is hard for all of us to brush off the stuff we see in the day to day. Just the headlines in the past few weeks have been hard for me, but healing comes from looking at people’s needs. What are people needing that causes them to do the things they do?

If every action we take is really about meeting a need, then understanding others’ needs could really bring on the healing if we wanted it to? right? If we could just see the WHY of the things people do, it is so much easier to understand and empathize with what they have done. Healing begins in all of us when we can understand what need is being met for someone.

Boost your needs literacy. It is tough to realize others needs and help them get past strategies that don’t really meet those needs, if we don’t have needs literacy. Here is a list of needs we all have: Print it and carry it with you for one day. For everything you see people do, ask your self what need did they try to meet?

needs inventory

The following list of needs is neither exhaustive nor definitive. It is meant as a starting place to support anyone who wishes to engage in a process of deepening self-discovery and to facilitate greater understanding and connection between people.

We have another list that might also be of interest to you: a list of feelings.

CONNECTION
acceptance
affection
appreciation
belonging
cooperation
communication
closeness
community
companionship
compassion
consideration
consistency
empathy
inclusion
intimacy
love
mutuality
nurturing
respect/self-respect
safety
security
stability
support
to know and be known
to see and be seen
to understand and
be understood
trust
warmth
HONESTY
authenticity
integrity
presence

PLAY
joy
humor

PEACE
beauty
communion
ease
equality
harmony
inspiration
order

PHYSICAL WELL-BEING
air
food
movement/exercise
rest/sleep
sexual expression
safety
shelter
touch
water

MEANING
awareness
celebration of life
challenge
clarity
competence
consciousness
contribution
creativity
discovery
efficacy
effectiveness
growth
hope
learning
mourning
participation
purpose
self-expression
stimulation
to matter
understanding

AUTONOMY
choice
freedom
independence
space
spontaneity

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