Monthly Archives: December 2008

Rick Warren Touches Homosexual. ON PURPOSE!

You heard about Rick Warren’s hilarious attempt at damage control, right? He stopped at a West Hollywood gay-owned thrift store and had his picture taken with a real live Homosexual. TMZ had the exclusive report along with a photo of him next to store manager Erol Sarabi.

[Warren] bought 8 to 10 books, two of which were his own (that doesn’t help with his Amazon ranking). Warren told Sarabi not to believe everything he reads, that he does a lot for AIDS research and was happy that Out of the Closet does free AIDS testing…

By the way, Warren gave a signed copy of his book to Sarabi. The inscription from the Bible, Proverbs 19:21: “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”

Such a loving embrace.
Such a loving embrace.

Note that Rick has his arm around Sarabi, the international sign that they’re BFF, and he can’t hate The Homosexuals if his BFF is A Homosexual, can he? Can he!?! OH HE GOT YOU THERE! YEAH! YOU’RE NO MATCH FOR RICK FUCKIN’ WARREN, BITCH! IN!!! YOUR!!! FACE!!!

**ahem**

Isn’t this whole thing just adorable? Either he thinks we’re stupid or he thinks the rest of America is stupid. I’m betting on both with a focus on the latter.

The good news is that he’s wrong. (Again.) In an interview with CBS News, Sarabi (the Homosexual Rick Warren touched) had this to say:

I can’t understand why [President-elect Obama] would pick somebody who would spew hate, spew homophobia.

22 days left to fix this, Mr. Obama.

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Love the Sinner, Hate the Cliché

I ran across it again this morning. “Love the sinner, hate the sin.”

It was in a blog (not linked here) bemoaning the death of America because of all the commies and heathens and whatnot. In the middle of the 2,000 word screed (And you thought I was long winded!) was a call to the canard. I made a smartass reply, as is my wont, but I couldn’t help but sigh at the outright hostility inherent to that phrase.

I’d put the issue away and gone about my business when I saw it again this afternoon, this time by a columnist in the Washington Times. Twice in one day was more than I could handle, so I’m writing about it.

In defense of Pope Benedict XVI’s Christmas Address of last week (Basically, The Pope says that the Catholic Church must “protect” creation from homosexuals and transsexuals; that we live in opposition to God.), columnist Jeffery T. Kuhner said:

Above all, however, he has carried the banner of peace and civilized, rational dialogue. He repeatedly – and unequivocally – has said the Christian injunction is to love the sinner but hate the sin.

My question: Is “Love the sinner, hate the sin” based on solid theology? Is that what the Bible teaches us? I ask because I’ve seen it more than a few times, and without exception it comes across with all the love of a knuckle sandwich. Without exception emphasis is placed on the hating part, usually followed by the “I have gay friends” assurance.

It’s no wonder I’ve heard it so much; a quick Google search for “hate the sin” comes up with 125,000 results, but if you filter out the references to homosexuality, the number drops down to 67,200.

Digest that for a minute. Nearly half the time this philosophy is mentioned, it’s in a conversation about homosexuality. Not divorce or alcoholism or gluttony or gossip. Not extra-marital sex. (I couldn’t figure out a test for that one.) In other words, not the sins that most people deal with personally.

No, when people say “love the sinner, hate the sin” it’s usually about homosexuality, a ‘sin’ they don’t have a personal issue with. I see a correlation there, an emphasis on a perceived fault we can catch someone else in without worrying about being caught ourselves.

Am I wrong? Is “love the sinner, hate the sin” good solid theology or is it a tool used to effectively ignore overt Biblical admonitions to love others (neighbor, self, family, enemies) full stop?

The floor is open.

Rick Warren Makes Baby Jesus Cry

You know, I don’t like being angry. I don’t like spending time writing about gay rights issues. In a perfect world, this entire blog would be unnecessary. I’d much rather be finding screencaps for the Die Hard review I’m working on for my non-political blog.

That’s what I was doing a few minutes ago when word started making the rounds that Rick Warren has released a video to members of his church. In this video, Rick tells unadulterated lies about what he’s said about gay rights, specifically gay marriage in the last week. Check it out:

(I’m choosing to ignore the preliminary nonsense about “hurling bombs at people” and being anonymous and being rude. I’ve dealt with your kind before, Rick. Nonsense like that won’t get me to change the subject.)

At about 2:40, Rick says that he’s never equated “gay partnerships” with incest and pedophilia. He says, “I believe no such thing. I never have. You’ve never once heard me in thirty years talk that way about that.” But last week he said exactly that.

Just in case the video doesn’t work:

Rick Warren: But the issue to me is, I’m not opposed to that as much as I’m opposed to the redefinition of a 5,000-year definition of marriage. I’m opposed to having a brother and sister be together and call that marriage. I’m opposed to an older guy marrying a child and calling that a marriage. I’m opposed to one guy having multiple wives and calling that marriage.

Steven Waldman: Do you think, though, that they are equivalent to having gays getting married?

Rick Warren: Oh I do.

Seriously, Rick. Does the ninth commandment mean nothing to you?

He goes on to backpedal about the beliefnet interview, but the truth is that Warren’s words, spoken when he didn’t think anybody was paying attention, have given him away. This isn’t even the first time he’s said something like that, just the most recent. (Well, the most recent until Friday’s interview with Ann Curry.)

Rick also goes on to repeat (again) the lie that “the definition of marriage has been universally accepted since the beginning of man”. I hate stating the obvious, but it would appear that I need to. On June 12, 1967, in response to Loving vs. Virginia, the US Supreme Court unanimously ruled that:

Marriage is one of the ‘basic civil rights of man,’ fundamental to our very existence and survival…. To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State’s citizens of liberty without due process of law. The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discriminations. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not to marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State.

This ruling redefined marriage for the federal government and effectively nullified anti-miscegenation laws in 17 states. It’s worth noting that the state government of South Carolina was the last to remove anti-miscegenation language from its constitution. It did so in 2000. So it hasn’t even been ten years since a state redefined marriage, even if we ignore gay marriage rights currently recognized in Connecticut and Massachusetts.

I want to make it perfectly clear that this debate is not about the religious definition of marriage. That’s a separate issue. I disagree with Rick Warren in that debate as well, but here we’re talking specifically about the civil definition of marriage only. That’s what Warren was discussing in the beliefnet interview, and since the Bill of Rights ensures the freedom of religion, religion is not a reasonable argument for denying what the US Supreme Court has identified as one of the ‘basic civil rights of man.’

There’s more, including a second video in which Warren calls people who’ve been speaking out about him hateful and evil (yes seriously). Honestly, I couldn’t get through it without retching so I’ll let others, like Good As You’s Jeremy Hooper, respond to that one. The video is below.

Finally, I return to the title of the post and the fact that the first video was filmed right after Rick Warren got done with a Christmas service. To quote Todd Flanders, “Lies make Baby Jesus cry.”

Why are you making Baby Jesus cry, Rick? Why?

(28 days, Mr. Obama.)

Rick Warren’s Ex-Gay Group: What You Need To Know

Andrew Sullivan of The Daily Dish reported this morning on Rick Warren’s Ex-Gay group. The following (excerpt only) was received from one of his readers.

Most people probably don’t know this, but Warren’s Saddleback Church has a Friday night program called Celebrate Recovery. On the whole the program is modeled after the twelve steps, albeit with an evangelical supplement to it. There are subgroups in the program that cater to men with “addictions” to pornography, recovery alcoholics, and women with codependency issues. There is also a group for those who struggle with “same sex attraction”, the discourse of which is directly borrowed from the ex-gay movement. I know this, of course, because I was involved with the group in Spring of 2007.

I looked up Celebrate Recovery (again with the acronyms!), and found that in fact the group is listed on Saddleback’s website as a Signature Ministry. Here’s a link and a screencap of the page in case they decide to delete it from their site. While they’ve done their best to scrub any reference to homosexuality (or as they call it, “Same Sex Attraction”) from the ministry’s main website, there are traces out there. That’s one of the problems with selling your hate far and wide; you can’t control what everybody does with it.

I found one trace at Jubilee Celebrate Recovery, an affiliate group in California. Here’s the page and another screencap, because I expect the post to be gone soon. Note that this is not the page linked to at the top. It’s a post from March 2, 2008 on the apparently defunct blog. “Same Sex Attraction” is listed (way down at the bottom) as a treatable condition along with Chemical Dependency, alcoholism, overeating, and others.

Same Sex Attraction

Is your relationship with God characterized by shame and guilt? Have you pulled away from healthy relationships because of homosexual issues? If you relate to these struggles, we welcome you to join us for hope and strength as we learn how to apply the 8 Recovery Principles to our lives.

But maybe that Jubilee group is just misusing Saddleback’s materials, you know? Could be, except for the group I found in Loveland, Colorado. Crossroads Church did me the great favor of putting the pamphlet for Celebrate Recovery’s Same Sex Attraction group online. Here’s a copy, supplied by the church in handy-dandy pdf format! I found the symptoms of Same Sex Attraction quite interesting. They include stereotypically closeted gay qualities such as:

• Has more opposite-sex friendships than same-sex friendships
• Is overly sensitive to criticisms
• Cannot take good-natured joking or kidding from other men
• Can only guess at what it means to be a “man”
• May have acted out sexually with other men
• Secretly craves healthy, affirming affection from other men but feels awkward accepting or expressing such affection
• Feels unsure of himself
• Plagued by self-doubt and regrets
• Is very sensitive

And that’s not even half of them. Folks, this is Ex-Gay 101. Don’t let the Hawaiian shirts and Krispy Kremes fool you; Jim Dobson’s got nothing on Rick Warren. They are peas in a pod. (A totally heterosexual pod, of course.)

 

President-elect Obama, there are 33 days left to keep this from becoming the first major blemish on your presidency. Supporting an ex-gay proponent is not acceptable. You cannot support them and expect LGBT people, many of whom bear the psychological and spiritual scars from their abuse by ex-gay groups, and expect us to support you. This is non-negotiable.

33 days.

The Second Coming of the Pharisees

Last week I finally got around to buying one of Andrew Peterson’s earlier albums. (He’s a singer/songwriter; I reviewed his most recent album this week at my other blog.) One of the songs stuck out at me for what should be an obvious reason, but as I’ve been reading the stuff about Rick Warren and his donuts, the second verse has been working away at me as well.

The song is called Come, Lord Jesus, and it’s from Peterson’s album Carried Away. This is just the first third. Buy the album for more.

Tonight in the line of the merchandise store
While they were packing up my bags
I saw the pictures of the prophets of the picket signs
Screaming “GOD HATES FAGS”

And it feels like the church isn’t anything more
Than the second coming of the Pharisees
Scrubbing each other till their tombs are white
They chisel epitaphs of piety

Oh, there’s a burning down inside of me
‘Cause the battle seems so lost
And it’s raging on so silently
We forget it’s being fought

So, Amen
Come, Lord Jesus
Amen

(By the way, I don’t know Andrew Peterson’s views on homosexuality. Other than this bit of lyric he’s stayed away from the issue, just as most Christian artists do.)

Here’s the problem: People outside the Christian Church think that Fred Phelps and Rick Warren are the Christian Church. To a certain extent they’re right, as much as I hate to admit it. There are a lot of outright bigots in the Church, and there are a lot of people either too selfish or too lazy or too fearful to stand against them. There’s a lot of hate thrown around in places that are meant to be havens of love.

But.

There are also good people. There are the people in various churches and various denominations who help me stack up sandbags against the flood of evil. There are leaders like Mel White, Irene Monroe, Geoff Farrow, and Gene Robinson, people whose boldness and, yes, bravery help strengthen the current generation and raise a new one less likely to use the words of love to create fear.

The battle isn’t lost. Sometimes it feels like that, and today is one of those times. But the night will end and we will advance in our quest. There will come a day when I and others like me will be able to walk into a church without wondering if we’d be allowed there if they knew we were gay. I was hoping it was coming soon but lately the road has started to look longer and longer.

One day.

He Thinks It’s Funny

There’s a video of Rick Warren making the rounds. The furthest back I can find it is Think Progress. The video is from an interview Warren did with Dateline set to air this Friday night. I don’t have much to say about it because I’m not sure there’s anything more to say.

He thinks serving water and Krispy Kremes makes his attitude about civil rights okay. He keeps bringing up all these gay friends he has (who can’t fucking believe what they’re hearing, by the way) who he congratulates himself for having. (See? I’m touching a filthy sinner! SEE? I’M JUST LIKE JESUS!!!) He has this notion that working with AIDS patients means he gets to discriminate against The Ho-mo-SEK-shals.

But Rick, none of that makes your silly 5,000 year argument true, and none of it makes it okay to laugh off the idea of treating another human being as a fellow human being. You horrible, horrible man.

h/t to Good As You and many others.



Obama Defends Invocation Choice

The Raw Story is reporting that in a press conference this morning, President-elect Obama defended the choice of Rick Warren to give the invocation at his inauguration. The transcript of his comments are below the video (skip to about 2:30).

I think that it is no secret that I am a fierce advocate for equality for gay and lesbian Americans. It is something that I have been consistent on and something that I intend to continue to be consistent on during my presidency. What I’ve also said is that it’s important for Americans to come together even though we may have disagreements on certain social issues and I would note that a couple of years ago I was invited to Rick Warren’s church to speak despite his awareness that I held views that were entirely contrary to his when it came to gay an lesbian rights, when it came to issues like abortion.

Nevertheless, I had an opportunity to speak and that dialog is part of what my campaign has been all about. We’re not going to agree on every single issue but what we have to do is be able to create an atmosphere where we can disagree without being disagreeable and focus on those things that we hold in common as Americans. Rick Warren has been invited to speak. Dr. Joseph Lowry who has deeply contrasting views to Rick Warren on a whole host of issues is also speaking.

During the course of the entire inaugural festivities there is going to be a wide range to viewpoints that are going to be presented. And that’s how it should be because that’s what America is about. Part of the magic of this country is that we are diverse and noisy and opinionated and that’s the spirit we have put together what I think will be a terrific inauguration that’s hopefully going to be a spirit that carries over into my administration.

This is so frustrating. This is not the action of a “fierce advocate”. As others have pointed out, we certainly wouldn’t have given George Wallace the stage just to get a balance of views as black people were abused in the 1950s. An anti-Semite wouldn’t be invited to represent a differing opinion to a Rabbi.

Likewise, a homophobic bigot like Rick Warren shouldn’t be offered the national stage to make sure the homophobes have a representative on the dais.

This is a horrible misstep, one that should demonstrate for the LGBT community that we still don’t have a friend in the White House. I’m not suggesting that Bishop Gene Robinson should have been asked (though that would have been tremendous), but there must be better candidates than one who just two days ago gleefully compared me to a rapist.

Mr. Obama, there’s still time to correct this. Senators and Representatives on the Inauguration Committee, there’s still time to fix the mess you’ve made.

You have 34 days until this becomes the first blemish on your presidency.

Homophobic Bigot to Give Invocation at President Obama’s Inauguration

According to a press release from the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, noted homophobe and warmonger apologist Rick Warren will be giving the invocation at President-elect Obama’s inauguration.

To say this makes me unhappy would be an understatement of near-criminal proportions. Since I posted about Warren’s medal of peace for GWB and his outright homophobia earlier this month, old Rick has been busy. He agreed with Sean Hannity that we should kill Iranian President Ahmadinejad, adding that the Bible gives the green light for it.

Then there’s the Beliefnet interview released yesterday afternoon. The Box Turtle Bulletin has the full transcript from the interview. Here’s an excerpt:

Rick Warren: But the issue to me is, I’m not opposed to that as much as I’m opposed to the redefinition of a 5,000-year definition of marriage. I’m opposed to having a brother and sister be together and call that marriage. I’m opposed to an older guy marrying a child and calling that a marriage. I’m opposed to one guy having multiple wives and calling that marriage.

Steven Waldman: Do you think, though, that they are equivalent to having gays getting married?

Rick Warren: Oh I do. Most people, you know. . . I have many gay friends, I’ve eaten dinner in gay homes, no church has probably done more for people with AIDS than Saddleback Church. Kay and I have given millions of dollars out of “A Purpose-Driven Life” helping people who got AIDS through gay relationships. So they can’t accuse me of homophobia. I just don’t believe in the re-definition of marriage.

Okay, Rick? Mr. Warren? YES WE CAN. Comparing the relationship between two gay/lesbian adults to child molestation MEANS YOU ARE A HOMOPHOBE. It doesn’t matter how many gay friends you think you have or what kind of food they served you or what kind of polite face you put on while you made yourself touch The Homosexuals who have AIDS. You. Are. A. Bigot. Your words have given you away.

Also, as I’m pretty sure I’ve said before, the 5,000 year definition of marriage is a LIE. Take half a second to think about it and you’ll realize that it hasn’t even been 50 years since the US government last changed the definition of marriage.

And now the committee in charge of the inauguration wants him to share a dais with Barack Obama? Seriously?

If you would like to contact the members of the committee (and you would) to ask them to reconsider their horrible decision, use the links below. Feel free to link them to my rage if you want. Or don’t. Just please, speak out and help correct this shockingly bad choice.

Committee Chairwoman Sen. Diane Feinstein
Sen. Harry Reid
Sen. Bob Bennett
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
Rep. Steny Hoyer
Rep. John Boehner

One more email address (I totally stole it from the aforementioned Box Turtle Bulletin) is for Parrag Mehta , President-Elect Obama’s LGBT liason on the transition team.

Brooklyn Man Brain Dead After Sunday’s Attack

Jose Sucuzhañay, Brooklyn businessman, husband, and father of two, has been taken off life support. Doctors declared him brain dead yesterday, the victim of an anti-Latino, anti-gay attack half a block from Sucuzhañay’s home.

Jose and his 38-year-old brother, Romel, who was visiting from Ecuador, had been drinking at a church party and then a Mexican restaurant and were holding onto each other as they stumbled home along Bushwick Ave. at 3:30 a.m. Sunday.

According to a witness who was parking his car nearby, a maroon SUV pulled up alongside the brothers and a man inside yelled, “Check out those faggots over there.” [note: Neither brother is gay.]

The surviving brother told police he didn’t hear that remark but that he heard one of them yell, “Fuck you, Spanish people.”

Witnesses said the three men got out of the SUV and set upon the siblings. One hit Jose Sucuzhañay in the head with a glass bottle, dropping him to the sidewalk.

The SUV driver battered the defenseless man’s head with an aluminum baseball bat, witnesses said, while the others kicked and punched both brothers.

Joe.My.God reports that there will be a candlelight vigil Sunday night at 8:00 at the scene of the murder. Police have released a sketch of one of the attackers and are offering a reward. Details here.


Update: Jose Sucuzhañay passed away on December 13, 2008 while his mother was still en route from Ecuador. A memorial service was held on December 18th in New York, followed by burial in Ecuador December 20th.

Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa has vowed to fight xenophobia and homophobia, saying in part, “We will fight together … to forever uproot these aberrations of certain maladjusted [individuals], uproot them from the face of the earth, from humanity: Xenophobia, homophobia and all kinds of discrimination, all kinds of violence.”

Day Without A Gay

I heard about Day Without A Gay last month, right before the protests across the country. Early on, I admonished people who were wishy-washy about calling in gay. Now on the day before the event I’m backing out, and I’m not sure if that qualifies me as a hypocrite.

The basic idea is for LGBT folks to not work at their jobs tomorrow and instead do community service. Day Without A Gay is the brainchild of Sean Hetherington and Aaron Hartzler, a couple in Los Angeles.

The reason I won’t be participating is…Well, this event is built for places with large gay communities. Can you imagine coming to work tomorrow in San Diego and finding everyone from one minority group missing? Same with universities; I’d imagine that this will be a major success there too. Or how about all the charity work that’s scheduled to be done tomorrow (in part two of the plan, which many media reports are downplaying)? The army of gays donating their time and talents will have a HUGE impact.

Organized by Sean Hetherington and Aaron Hartzler. Thanks, guys.
Organized by Sean Hetherington and Aaron Hartzler. Thanks, guys.

But I live in the country, and there’s no focused gay community to speak of in any of the towns or cities within at least an hour’s drive. I’m probably the only fag within at least a few square miles of my house, and in the protests in November, there were less than 1,000 participants in all of Ohio. (No wonder so many people move to Southern California after they come out!)

As far as work goes, I’m the only out person in our office, and while I could take off, would there be any real impact? Seriously, I doubt anybody would notice I was gone, let alone make the connection to a protest.

It’s not that I think this is a bad idea. Quite the contrary, this is the kind of imaginative leadership the LGBT community needs. It’s just that built on the assumption of a larger local community that just doesn’t exist here.

So tomorrow, I’ll be at work with all the breeders. Please, if you’re in an area where this can make an impact, call in gay for me. I’ll keep plugging along here on the blog and doing what I can in my life.

Thanks to the Sean and Aaron for dreaming this up. You’re a great example for the next generation of gay rights organizers.