May 31, 2012

KEEPING ON MESSAGE/FASCINATING RHYTHM: The ¨Land of the Eternal Spring¨ renews itself once again

It´s the rainy season in America Central.  It starts like God has a starting time at exactly May 15th and nobody better forget it.

It´s true, there may be a few odd rain showers before May 15th but when it is actually May 15, high Summer is over, the thunder begins and the rain clouds form and take shape like Zeus was hiding out in the Volcano (and the volcan even it erupts with staggeringly gorgeous display of gladness during the season change).

I´ve lived in the Caribbean and Central America for over two decades now and I´m thrilled when the great magical greening season blows, it streaks, light the lights we´ve got nowhere to hit but the heights.

Our world around us takes on the spirit of lush fertility and it´s put to good stimulates me and my art grows.

May 30, 2012

FASCINATING RHYTHM: Lead singer Tom Gabel tells ¨Rolling Stone¨ she is a Transgender

Laura Jane Grace, formerly known as Tom Gabel
¨The lead singer of punk band Against Me! was greeted with cheers at her first stage appearance since announcing she is transgender.

Laura Jane Grace, formerly known as Tom Gabel, played a gig at San Diego and said she was relived by fans’ reactions.

She told Rolling Stone: “I was worried that some people expected me to come out looking like Little Bo Peep or something.”

Touring with The Cult, Against Me! played six new tracks including The Gender Dysphoria Blues. Rolling Stone said she made no mention of transition on-stage, the song would form the title track of an album currently in the works...¨ please read it all, HERE

·  Thanks to Pink News, United Kingdom
·  Thanks to Rolling Stone
·  Thanks to CassandraX, photo

May 28, 2012

¨GAY UGANDA¨ NOT FORGOTTEN: ¨Such is the strength of the human spirit: we are gay, Ugandan, and we live and work in the country. Life is tough.¨ October, 2010

¨...we gay Ugandans hide so well, and are gracefully camouflaged, that fellow Ugandans frequently ask themselves who the "evil gays" are. Of course, we are their kin.¨
 ¨GAY UGANDA¨ We are thinking of you and to all the Kuchus of Uganda we send you our best wishes and prayers for well-being, everyday safety and personal happiness too. Leonardo Ricardo, Central America

¨I woke early to an empty bed. Partner not around. Gone for a seminar in Mukono, just outside Kampala. It's not far, but I can't be with him. That means a cold bed for me. Cold food, too, because I am hopeless in the kitchen. He bears those burdens, literally looking after me. I know, I take it too far, but I do love being looked after. He makes me feel special; and I am missing him.

We live in the suburbs of the Ugandan capital, and have been together for 10 years. And we are gay. He is a man. I am a man. We are both Ugandans, living, working in Uganda. So, how is it to be gay, and Ugandan, today? We live in interesting times and we have lived a kind of terrifying history.

When we met and moved in together, I was living with my brother. I sat him down and told him: "You know I am gay. I am going to have my lover move in with me." He nodded. I told him that he had the option of living with his dad, if he objected, but I was determined to stay with my lover.

I was simply tired of the hiding, the subterfuge, the lies. My brother did know that I was gay, since we lived in the same house. But not the rest of my family, and not the neighbours. That could not happen.

So, 10 years ago I got a "room-mate" who coincidentally shared the bed with me. We were deeply closeted at the beginning. We thought (hoped, prayed) that nobody knew. After all, though we are grown men living together, sharing a house in Kampala is no big deal. I mean, in Kampala, in Uganda, with the depressed economic conditions, what was more notable was that there were only three of us in the house rather than 10.

I was involved in gay rights issues – some very early, nascent activities. Self-confidence, independence of income and some education helped me, as did a sense of growing anger at my world of duplicity, shame and enforced lies. My partner was more cautious. Not all the things that I did were below the radar, or underground.

It was at his insistence that I made my Gay Uganda blog as anonymous as possible. His was always the voice of caution: wait, don't do that, don't expose yourself, remember that it is no longer you alone.

And, he was correct. I did heed his voice. Because, for a gay Ugandan, life is not safe. Being known to be gay is tough. It is a life of reckless fear, not courage. We do what we do, not because we can, but because there is no other option. From the very first inkling of our sexuality, we learn to hide. And we do hide.

In fact, we gay Ugandans hide so well, and are gracefully camouflaged, that fellow Ugandans frequently ask themselves who the "evil gays" are. Of course, we are their kin. But they don't believe their brothers, sisters, cousins, relatives can be the "evil gays".

In the beginning, I think it was the religious questions that led to my activism. I was baptised into an Anglican family. While in high school, round about the time that I realised my sexuality, I became an evangelical Christian.

But being gay in Uganda and Christian is a real challenge. Ugandans are highly religious and, coming out to myself later, I knew I couldn't reconcile my faith and sexuality. I decided to repudiate faith. But then I went further and became angry at the faith as shown in Uganda. And why not?

The words and actions of our religious leaders are full of hate. Mufti Mubajje, titular head of Muslims in Uganda, believes that all gay Ugandans should be marooned on an island in Lake Victoria. We would then die out and solve the country's gay problem.

When we came out at a press conference in 2007, all the sermons in churches and mosques over the following days were about the evil of homosexuality. An anti-gay demonstration was organised, ultimately limited to a rally at Kyadondo rugby ground. And, there, ministers – both political and religious – railed at the evil homosexuals who had dared to show their faces (even though we were wearing masks).

The KUCHUS are strong and staying afloat in Uganda
It was a tough time. I remember, we were home that evening, with some gay friends – kuchus, as we call ourselves. They were a bit worried, because I had been at the press conference and the radio was talking about the imminent arrests of gay men.

That was when my dad revealed his knowledge. He came to our door, anxious. He had heard a rumour that we were all going to be arrested. "Who is going to be arrested?" I asked him, shocked, more by the fact that he knew, than that he was warning me. "You," he indicated towards me and my partner.

Fortunately, the rumours of arrest were unfounded. But, we had been exposed and the exposure was going to grow. Now that gay Ugandans had "come out", we were the target of any newspaper seeking to make a quick buck. I was known. My partner was known.

The anti-homosexuality bill of 2009 further flushed us out of our closets. We found ourselves targeted by a truly horrible piece of legislation, seeking to kill and imprison us for life, all in the name of "family and cultural values". We had to fight, and we had to come out of the shadows to fight.

Death and life imprisonment. No access to information or help. The danger of being reported to "relevant authorities" by pastors, doctors, parents. Mandatory HIV tests. All these are provisions of the Bahati bill. We had to show our faces. We had to, and we did.

But, though the international outcry enabled the government to go slow on the bill, our exposure was not reversible. Now a tabloid has published the photographs of alleged gay Ugandans, under the headline "Hang Them".

No, it is not easy to be gay and Ugandan. Whether it is denial of HIV prevention services for gay men, or the need to bribe police when you are reported, it is not easy.

Such is the strength of the human spirit: we are gay, Ugandan, and we live and work in the country. Life is tough. But, I dare say, having come through the fire, we are as tough, if not tougher.¨ Gay Uganda HERE

· Thanks to Gay Uganda, sidebar
· Thanks to The Guardian, United Kingdom
· Thanks to Nsubuga
· Thanks to Public Radio, U.S.A.

MURDER IN UGANDA: Remembering Anglican ¨Integrity Uganda¨ Member and Gay Rights Activist David Kato, May You Rest in Peace and Rise in Glory

May 27, 2012

TIME FOR ANOTHER REALITY BASED ERUPTION: I´ve been fully present in my own life for over 68 years (well, often I´ve been fully present)

It´s time for a taste of reality
It´s come to this.  Actually, it already came to this (well, not exactly as pictured but I GET the picture) over the last couple of years.  To tell the truth it started with retirement at age 62 and I stopped going regularly (daily) to the gym.  I was simply too tired.  It´s how it really morning I could NOT get out of bed (it was never easy for me at 5:00 A.M. anyway but I forced myself because the physical/cosmetic rewards were great and in the last years I had a trainer every morning at 6:00 when the gym opened to keep me on point). 

I was burned out at 62 and I thought that I needed to rest myself instead of driving myself as I had for a lifetime of trying to ¨look good¨ and work hard and be somebody and trying NOT to drop through the cracks in my own life (lots of ups and downs and lots of solid and wholesome/unwholesome adventures too) along the way.  After decades of sobriety and NOT touching the booze and living in the REAL world of happiness, grief, fear, glee and huge globs of face-it-as-you-can character revelations -- both good and bad...I was/am tired.  I´d danced as fast as I could even when the music stopped playing.   I surrendered, I was pooped-out I grabbed a chair before there wasn´t one for me to sit down in...maybe there wouldn´t be enough chairs for resting?

I´ve stayed current.  I´ve stayed in the day.  I´ve been given new friendships and fine companions and I´ve kept many old friends and have lots of dogs, birds and fish too.  I´ve been creative.  My Art has progressed.  It´s been rewarding to dedicate much more time to painting in my retirement.  I faced scares.  I´ve had five, count em, five, eye surgeries in recent years.  Well, maybe I didn´t face the scary part too well as I´ve stayed a bit closer to home and I´m afraid to drive at night even though my vision corrects just fine I do tend to bump into body does, not my car.  I do enjoy entertaining.  I like to cook and even have a maid! 

I´ve been fully present in my own life for most of the years that led up to the 68th year of age that I have right now.  I´m been blessed on so many levels of life and I KNOW that I´ve been privileged and downright lucky and even authentically graced with a great miracle (even though I was drunk, slightly blury, when the burning bush appeared, age 35, in my living room during my one-on-one/try-to-pass-out cocktail party in the middle of a weeknight when God lifted active alcoholism from me).

My life is filled with great bursts of energy, great personal success and some great failures too
in my little pond of trying-to-be-a-big-frog croaking.  Alas, mostly I´m just a regular human being who has always appreciated being a real live pollywog who has survived sharks, snakes and predators of many stripes (it´s just a little test, sometimes deadly sometimes not, afterall, ¨it gets better¨).  But I´ve always felt God (completely unrehersed) and tried as hard as I could to shower myself with the best of the world ¨intentions¨ as they appealed to the authentic me (I even once had a little business The Best of the New World). Most of the World does, it really does, appeal to me (even with the poisoness reptile wrestling).  There is so much to take in, verdad?  Even the less colorful takes on special meaning when viewed up close. I´m passionate about the world around us and every glimmer of good in humanity (both known and not) but, I loathe injustice and I actually find little love in my aging heart for those who harm/abuse others.  The Bigots have almost worn me out...almost, that is, as I think they may become enlightened before my curtain comes down  (Lord, hear my prayer).  

Yet, still, my compassion seems to me almost on empty for those who I view as demonziers of innocents and marginalizers of our sister and brother human beings.  I have BIG resentments as the ¨haters¨ prattle on and on about ¨sexual¨ circumstances in others of which they fear or know nothing/little. Everyday sociopaths, con artists and greedsters get my goat. My patience has faltered and my tolerance seems like a dishonest jesture to me.  I sometimes worry about the ¨business¨ of others. Outside acts of which I have no need, or wish (mostly), to control!  Imagine! Pass the Brownies please. Fret, fret!

I know that TRUST, letting go, forgiveness and understanding are the paths to becoming a healthier all my affairs.  Acceptance too.

Then some action: I´ve become a ¨Plant Based¨ eater (as my friends Tom and Elizabeth and David Charles Walker introduced to me).  I joined a online 12 Step ¨eating¨ dilemma group -- very nifty folks online there (wherever there happens to be). After two months I feel so much better and my blood pressure and my heart agree that plants are good for me.  Onward I go (to the Gym too) and thank you for being here and for visiting me.  I intend to keep ¨being¨, albeit with less ¨striving¨  the person that God created me to be...a more ¨rightsized¨ version of me in several ways. 

As my Mom always said ¨We shall see what we shall see.¨

Leonardo Ricardo/Leonard Richard/Len
Guatemala, Central America

May 23, 2012

EPISCOPAL SAINTS: ¨Today is the Feast of Copernicus and Kepler, Astronomers¨

¨Episcopalians feel easy around scientists. We have a few in our congregations, and they help us remember that the quest for knowledge is 100% God-Approved™

Today is the Feast of Copernicus and Kepler, Astronomers, and already we’re seeing some reaction.

Michael Poteet, a Presbyterian member of the Daily Office   congregation, writes, “Is today actually a feast day for these two astronomers on the Episcopal calendar? I think that is marvelous!”

And Maria L. Evans, a stalwart laywoman from Missouri, adds this: “I totally dig that they are on the calendar. Where else but the Episcopal church do we put people on the saints calendar that point out, ‘Guess what? The universe doesn’t revolve around us!’”

(I had to tell Maria this known fact: the universe revolves around the Subdeacon’s new granddaughter. Her name is Hadley, and she’s got more hair than Clint does.)

But there’s a bigger point to be made here, which I will now divulge to you (free of charge): Yes, it is marvelous and wonderful that we have a Copernicus and Kepler Day; and no, there is nowhere else but The Episcopal Church where you will find any feast days of scientists...¨ read it all, HERE

·  Thanks to the Daily Office,
·  Thanks to Josh Thomas
·  Thanks to Gay Spirit Diary, sidebar
·  Thanks to David Green, Episcopal Rainbow Shield

¨It’s part of the genius of The Episcopal Church that we mix freely with scientists and artists, bankers and queers; housewives, grandbabies, bakers and cops.¨  Josh Thomas

May 21, 2012

A MESSAGE TO BISHOP GREG VENABLES/ARGENTINA - SOUTHERN CONE: Buenos Aires Welcomes Foreigners To Obtain Same-Sex Marriages


¨Argentina has had marriage equality for same-sex couples since July, 2010, but now Buenos Aires will allow visitors to the country to marry as well. According to a new law passed last week, any foreign couple (including both same- and opposite-sex couples) can marry in Buenos Aires with only a five-day request and a temporary address. Spouses-to-be interested in marrying there are encouraged to hire a local lawyer to make sure all of the paperwork is submitted properly and efficiently.¨ HERE

·  Thanks to Think Progress LGBT, sidebar
·  Thanks to Zack Ford

May 20, 2012

ATTENTION ARCHBISHOP OF YORK AND OTHERS : We don’t need religious moral guidance for good conduct, something which religions acquired from our innate sense of ethics and human goodness, and then perverted.

¨Slavery was eventually outlawed, women freed from being a chattel of men, and individuals were at last free to believe or not believe in a religion; except that it hasn’t fully been realized. Why?¨
¨Men like Freud, Kinsey, Marx, and Darwin, all pioneers in their own fields, had to combat the customs of their cultures to make their contributions to human knowledge.

Similarly, older historical figures, amongst them Socrates, Galileo, and Columbus, all had to contend with their prevailing cultures and authorities. The concern herein is not with the actual discoveries and contributions made by such men, often at extreme and deeply personal levels of self-confrontation, but with the fact that they had to question, deny, defy and combat the stultifying and entrenched values of their cultures with risk to their own welfare.

With many of their achievements, they set the world stage for the progress of science, technology, and, with the work of the humanist enlightenment philosophers, advanced the concepts of individual freedom.

Furthermore, the settlement of the Americas and the subsequent United States Constitution with its Amendments, broke the unquestioned control of religious power over not only the state, but also the individual.

Universal human rights were beginning to be acknowledged in law. Slavery was eventually outlawed, women freed from being a chattel of men, and individuals were at last free to believe or not believe in a religion; except that it hasn’t fully been realized. Why?

Without going into specifics, the main delay has been the reluctant relinquishing of all the restraining rules, laws and customs of previous generations.

That is nothing new, as the previously mentioned pioneers faced confrontation with such entrenched beliefs and laws. They succeeded in displacing many of those archaic beliefs because the empirical reality of their findings was irrefutable, or consisted of thoroughly sound rational arguments based on fact rather than conjecture.

Traditional beliefs, laws and customs were questioned and recognized as unjust, misleading, inadequate, and inaccurate. Without pursuing natural intellectual curiosity using scientific method, and acceptance of revealed reality, we would all still be believing the insanity of a flat Earth, and murdering each other for the sake of personal subjective beliefs. We are better than that...¨ please read it all, HERE  (emphasis added)

A Response on Marriage and Civil Partnership

John Sentamu, Archbishop of York

NOTE: The Archbishop of York may fail to be nominated as the next Archbishop of Canterbury -- ¨not because he is black¨ HERE

·  Thanks to Desmond Rutherford, Des Down Under
·  Thanks to LGBTQ NATION,  sidebar
·  Thanks to Thinking Anglicans, sidebar
·  Thanks to The Archbishop of York

May 19, 2012

HUMANS AND 4,000 OTHER SPECIES HAVE HOMOSEXUALITY: ¨ is possible for demons or the devil to inhabit or invade animals just the same way they invade humans, and that causes the sin of lust.¨

A Former Chaplain Explains Where Gay Animals Come From
This was on The David Pakman Show, where Pakman queried ex-Navy chaplain Gordon Klingenschmitt and full-time godnut on the habits and provenance of homosexuals. The following dialogue was helpfully transcribed by Raw Story's Stephen C. Webster:

“Let’s step back for a second, Gordon, and say okay, let’s assume you’re right that homosexuality among humans is only because of marketing,” Pakman countered. “What about in the 4,000 other species that have homosexuality? Because, as far as I know, they don’t have TV. They don’t have advertising. They don’t have the iTunes store to recruit people. How is it that humans are gay sometimes because of marketing, but 4,000 other species… Why? Is it something else?”

“It is entirely possible — we know from the Bible, for example, when Jesus cast the devil out of Legion, he went into a herd of pigs,” Klingenschmitt said. “So, it is possible for demons or the devil to inhabit or invade animals just the same way they invade humans, and that causes the sin of lust.”

“So, what you’re saying is, in humans it’s marketing that makes people gay; in animals, it’s the souls of gay humans who have invaded the animals,” Pacman replied. “That makes them gay?”

Klingenschmitt laughed and scratched his temple. “Well, I think you twisted what I’m saying there,” he said.

Klingenschmitt has many more interesting theories to share -- including a neat rehashing of the Anita Bryant line about gay "recruitment," made scientific-sounding by the invocation of "biology" and "Mendelian genetics" -- with which you may acquaint yourself ...¨ read more: HERE

·  Thanks to Towleroad, sidebar
·  Thanks to Raw Story´s Stephen C. Webster
·  Thanks to The David Pakman Show

May 17, 2012

The Book of Mormon: A Superior Revelation or a Hoax?

The Angel Moroni, son of the Nephite prophet Mormon
¨Those outside the Mormon Church see the good works of its members and because of their lack of understanding of Christian teaching and their acute lack of knowledge regarding Mormon sources, they tend to think that the Mormon church is as Christian as the Baptists, Methodists and the Presbyterians.¨

¨Missionaries for the Mormon Church have converted millions of people to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by convincing them that the Book of Mormon is true and superior to the Bible.

The Book of Mormon claims to be history of "the period from 600 BC to 421 AD during which the Nephite, Lamanite, and Mulekite civilizations flourished."{1} It is also believed by the Mormon Church that these civilizations were descendants of Lehi, a Jew who led a colony of people from Jerusalem to the Americas in 600 BC.

The Nephite prophet Mormon and his son Moroni played major roles in bringing the lost story of these civilizations to light. War broke out among the descendants of Lehi, and as they were about to annihilate one another, Mormon wrote their history on golden plates and hid them in the hill Cumorah in New York state.

According to Bruce R. McConkie, a Mormon scholar, the Book of Mormon has three purposes:

To bear record of Christ and clarify his Divine Sonship and mission, proving that he is the Redeemer and Savior;

To teach the doctrines of the gospel in such a perfect way that the plan of salvation will be clearly revealed;

To stand as a witness that Joseph Smith was the Lord's anointed through whom the latter-day work of restoration would be accomplished.{2} (According to the Mormon Church, Christianity was corrupted after the death of the last apostle and Joseph Smith was anointed by God to restore the true church.)

Referring to the Book of Mormon, the Mormon apostle Orson Pratt, said: "This book must be either true or false. If true, it is one of the most important messages ever sent from God.... If false, it is one of the most cunning, wicked...impositions ever palmed upon the world, calculated to deceive and ruin millions."{3}

It is imperative that we recognize the Book of Mormon for what it is and challenge those who continue to perpetuate the false idea that it is true. In order for the Book of Mormon to be accepted as divine truth, the Bible must be discredited.

The book of 2 Nephi in the Book of Mormon says: "Because that ye have a Bible ye need not suppose that it contains all my words."{4} Joseph Smith said, "I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book."{5}

The underlying problem with the Book of Mormon is that there is absolutely no objective, external evidence for much of the information found in the book. And the information that is trustworthy was plagiarized right out of the King James Bible. Beyond the fact that the Book of Mormon cannot be verified externally, the potential convert is told that the Smithsonian Institution uses the Book of Mormon to aid its archaeological work. However, in a letter referring to this Mormon claim, the Smithsonian Institution Department of Anthropology states: "The Smithsonian Institution has never used the Book of Mormon in any way as a scientific guide. Smithsonian archaeologists see no connection between the archeology of the New World and the subject matter of the Book."{6} there is much, much more, HERE (emphasis added)

·  Thanks to Russ Wise
·  Thanks to Mormon Beliefs about Prophecy, Heaven, and Celestial Marriage

DELUSIONAL, OR IMMORAL? What they really mean when they say they’re “not anti-gay”

Charles W. Colson, political saboteur for President Richard M. Nixon ¨The leading voice of ´Christian´ victimism¨ 
¨The memorial service for the late Chuck Colson was held today. May God have mercy on his soul. Of those contending to replace him as the leading voice of “Christian” victimism, and as the architect of anti-gay propaganda at Prison Fellowship Ministries, John Stonestreet is probably the most sophisticated.

One of the favorite techniques of Colson and his acolytes is to stand reality on its head by casting themselves, although they are the ones working to deny religious freedom and civil rights to others, as the oppressed and persecuted. Hence Stonestreet, in a recent column, claims for himself and his audience the role of Esther. You all know the story, right? Haman, the Jew-hating dictator, is a prime minister whose king has unwittingly taken the Hebrew Esther as his wife. When Haman is angered by Mordecai and is about to respond in a genocidal rage, Esther outs herself to save her people. Stonestreet equates the situation of the Hebrews, in exile under the rule of Haman, to the circumstances of “Christians” today when they are restrained in any way by the civil rights of others. My husband gently pointed out to him the irony of his words: That the behavior Stonestreet is encouraging is very much like Haman’s inclination to dehumanize the Hebrews and see them as something other than just people, perhaps objectifying them as the “lobbyists” or “homosexual activists” of their day.

 Stonestreet didn’t seem to understand. “Hamaan wasn’t grumpy at the Jews because of their propaganda or lobbying,” he responded. “They were exiles. He just didn’t like them.”

Not exactly (and one would expect a Prison Fellowship Ministries “Centurion” to know his bible a little better than this). Haman was “grumpy at the Jews” (!) because Mordecai refused to bow down. Had Mordecai accepted Haman’s authority by denying his own religious identity, Esther never would have outed herself, and no one would have been the wiser. Haman didn’t object to Jews, really – only those Jews who insisted on following that commandment “Thou shalt worship no other gods before Me.” The other Jews, the nice ones who didn’t assert their Jewishness, he had no problem with. Don’t ask, don’t tell... read it all, HERE (emphasis added)

·  Thanks to David
·  Thanks to The Maddow Blog
·  Thanks to Equality Loudoun, HERE

May 16, 2012

GET A GRIP ON REALITY: “...people like Mitt Romney who cause pain to people simply for being different than them tend to take that worldview into the workplace, into churches, and into governance.¨

The All New Republican Party:  A ¨pack of dogs¨ led by Romney!

Washington, D.C

¨Today, GetEQUAL a prominent LGBT advocacy group, is demanding that Mitt Romney “cut out” LGBT bullying. As The Washington Post reported this week HERE , Romney bullied Lauber for his “nonconformity” and “presumed homosexuality” throughout their time at Cranbrook. In one disturbing example, Romney rounded up a gang of students to corner Lauber in his room. Romney then tackled the young student, pinned him to the ground and, ignoring Lauber’s crying and screams for help, hacked off his hair with a pair of scissors.

Mitt Romney claims he doesn’t remember the event. But five former Cranbrook students cited in the article have independently corroborated the story. They have also all apologized. This morning, another former student and friend of Romney’s, Phillip Maxwell, came forward to ABC News HERE  to describe the “haunting memory.”  Romney and his friends acted like a “pack of dogs” during the assault, Maxwell recalls. He told ABC that it was “bullying supreme.”

In light of the painful amount of bullying experienced by students across the country, GetEQUAL went to the headquarters of the Republican National Committee today to protest Mitt Romney’s continued bullying of LGBT young people and adults via his anti LGBT policies and campaign promises.

“It’s been clear to LGBT Americans for years that Mitt Romney is a bully by looking at his unapologetic refusal to move forward on LGBT equality — now, the rest of the country is seeing his bully tendencies,” said Heather Cronk, managing director of GetEQUAL. “Bullying doesn’t end at the graduation stage — people like Mitt Romney who cause pain to people simply for being different than them tend to take that worldview into the workplace, into churches, and into governance. Romney has an obligation to govern on behalf of all Americans — but he’s made clear that he is incapable of treating people equally.” HERE

According to the National Education Association, “Students who are targets of repeated bullying behavior experience extreme fear and stress, which can be expressed as: fear of going to school, fear of using a public bathroom, fear of the bus ride to and from school, physical symptoms of illness and diminished ability to learn.”

•Everyday 160,000 students stay at home from school due to fear of being attacked or violently bullied.

•282,000 students across the nation are physically attacked at school every month

•In 85% of bully cases, there is no intervention or effort to stop action from taking place.

According to the National Youth Association,

•9 out of 10 LGBT students have experienced physical harassment or bullying at school.

•LGBT teens are bullied 2 to 3 times as much as straight teens.

•More than 1/3 of LGBT kids have attempted suicide due to bullying.

·  Thanks to ABC News
·  Thanks to The Washington Post
  Thanks to Get EQUAL, sidebar

May 15, 2012

Lesbian Muslim activist Irshad Manji: Silence empowers bullies

Born in Uganda: Lesbian Muslim activist Irshad Manji
¨Openly lesbian Muslim activist and author Irshad Manji spoke about her faith after she had one event at a university in Yogyakarta cancelled, and another in Jakarta stopped midway where she had to leave under heavy police escort as religious extremists violently protested the event.

Irshad Manji, the prominent author of The Trouble with Islam Today which has been published in more than 30 languages, including Arabic, Malay and Indonesian is on a book tour in Indonesia promoting her most recent book, Allah, Liberty and Love found herself faced with angry mobs determined to prevent her from speaking or discussing her views at any forum.

Openly lesbian Muslim journalist, activist and author, Irshad ManjiLocal media reported that the South Jakarta police forcibly ended the book launch and discussion which was held the at the Salihara Community's building, Pasar Minggu on May 4 after the event was protested by Islamic Defender Front (FPI) group and people claiming to be local residents. The Jakarta Post reported that the protesters rejected the author because she openly declared that she was a lesbian and that her viewpoint that Islam should accept homosexuality was “unacceptable”; and questioned the organiser’s permit to invite a foreign national.

Manji was born in Uganda to a Gujarati Indian father and an Egyptian mother but her family moved to Canada when she was four....¨ HERE

·  Thanks to Fridae Asia, sidebar
·  Thanks to Irshad Manji
·  Thanks to ¨The Trouble with Islam Today¨

·  Thanks to The Jakarta Post
·  Thanks to ¨Allah, Liberty and Love¨

May 13, 2012

HAPPY MOTHERS DAY: ¨...what makes someone a misogynist, and am I one?

Recently a Lesbian, not-so-much-a-friend-as-a-remote-acquaintance, suggested to me that ¨Gay¨ men actually treated women with less respect than their/her due. I was flabbergasted and looked throughout the web for ANY information to back up such a, to me, unfair, blusterous and insulting claim.  There was/is none, zip, empty, void, zero. Today I found this ¨commentary¨ at Bilerico Project and it´s the closest thing I ´ve found on the subject of Gay Misogynist´s linked below but I especially identified with this part: ¨...if a friend were to call me out for perceived misogyny, I would no doubt listen, for I have found that I become a better person from examining my failings.¨ I´ve listened, I´m still listening and willing and able to listen. However,  I still think ¨Gay¨ men and our respect, admiration and in most cases great trust and friendships with women is the standard amongst us...that basic warmth and natural acceptance of *others* is most often present in our friendships with Lesbians, Bisexual women and Heterosexual women too. Leonardo Ricardo

Of Mother's Day and Misogyny

By Kergan Edwards-Stout

¨...When I contemplate the word "misogyny," I think of anger, hatred, and dislike, which doesn't remotely correspond with my feelings. And when I think of "women," no negative connotations arise, either. Still, if a friend were to call me out for perceived misogyny, I would no doubt listen, for I have found that I become a better person from examining my failings.

Kergan Edwards-Stout,   Songs for the New Depression  HERE
With a creative work, however, linking artist to art can be tenuous at best. In my novel, each and every word Gabriel utters, whether towards women or men, was carefully chosen for effect; sometimes for humor, sometimes for pathos, and other times to offend. It is his nature to live life unfiltered, but for me, I long ago learned the perils of such behavior, and work rigorously to examine my insecurities and feelings in an ongoing attempt to better myself.

While I'm not convinced that I am, indeed, misogynistic, I'm leaving the door open to that possibility, for the best way I can think of to demonstrate my respect for women is to live authentically, treat others honorably, with my eyes open to opportunities in which I can improve myself, those around me, and the greater world at large...¨ please read it all, HERE (emphasis added)

Happy Mother's Day.

·  Thanks to The Bilerico Project, sidebar
·  Thanks to Kergan Edwards-Stout
·  Thanks to Songs for the New Depression, HERE

Happy Mothers Day to my Mother,  Ardythe Beardsley Clark, R.I.P.
¨A beautiful person in every way¨
Gardenias, Mom´s favorite flower

May 12, 2012

JAY´CORY JONES, R.I.P. -- Shame on accessories to murder who promote difference, bully and spew their ignorance with careless words of hate!

¨You could tell it upset him because like he didn’t understand why people couldn’t accept him for who he was,”

Prayers ascending for Jay´Cory Jones, rest in peace and rise in Glory
Rochester, Minnesota – A 17-year-old openly gay teen succumbed to overwhelming bullying, taking his own life this past Sunday. Jay’Cory Jones jumped to his death into traffic from a pedestrian bridge near Century High School, according to police reports. According to his father, Jones was beaten down by the incessant school bullying he endured for being open and vocal about his sexual orientation. His father, JayBocka Strader, told the  PostBulletin, “He said all of his life they always picked on him. He’d still try to keep his head up at school, but then he’d come home and be really sad about it.” Mr. Strader went on to say that his son was depressed because other boys wouldn’t accept him for who he was.

Jones knew of his sexual orientation since he was a little boy. He took pride in who he was, and declared on his Facebook page that he was “Gay & Proud.” A member of the Century Gay Straight Alliance, he sought help with his feelings from the Gay and Lesbian Youth Services in Rochester where he attended weekly meetings. In the end, the pressure on him from his peers was just too much to bear...¨ please read it all,  HERE

·  Thanks to Unfinished Lives, sidebar
·  Thanks to Post Bulletin, Minnesota

May 9, 2012

¡CUIDADO, UNA CURVA! Don´t let ¨good manners¨ stand in the way of common sense at the TEC General Convention!

‘If It’s Not Pleasant, It Doesn’t Exist’
By Lay Anglicana

My grandmother never actually said this to me. But it was the leitmotiv of her life, thanks to which she lived to be 99 years old. I know half a dozen other nonagenarians, and they all have this in common: they do not dwell on the global economic downturn, global warming, or why that Mrs Jones down the road is such a bitch has a less than sunny disposition. They pour themselves another gin, play another rubber of bridge or go for a walk. They live without passion of any sort (well, they are in their nineties) but this includes love and hate. They are not passionately for or passionately against anything. They do not discuss politics, religion or sex, or indeed any other topic about which anyone might feel strongly. They do not show feelings in public (the mantra of this class is ‘No PDA’ – no Public Display of Affection). To do so would be bad form. They do not weep in public, or ever evince any pain or self-pity. They offer no sympathy (beyond the most formal expression), and they shudder at the thought of sympathy being shown to them. By definition, they are not needy.

Of course, by the time my grandmother and her kind are in their nineties, they probably are needy, if only physically. For them this is the hardest part of old age, that they have to accept help from others and allow chinks to appear in their armour.

I sometimes think my kind of Anglican is like this. I have just learned that I am technically a liberal Anglo-Catholic – I have always thought of myself as plain old CofE but now see that there are many strands of worshippers who all self-identify as Church of England but whose worshipping style – and beliefs- are very different. Yesterday I attended (and will post about separately) a communion service led by a Charismatic Evangelical. My knee-jerk reaction was to wince at the emotional incontinence, but a part of me – normally severely repressed- also responded.

I think I could happily make the transition to The Episcopal Church (TEC) and feel at home. I was brought up to think that good manners are all-important, and TEC is above all the home of good manners: ‘After you’; ‘No, after you’. ‘No cake until you have had the bread and butter’. And so on.

But word reaches me that these good manners may stand in the way of common sense at the TEC General Convention to be held from July 5-12 in Indianapolis: agreeing with me that the current ‘sorry state of things entire’ of the Anglican Covenant is such that it definitely counts as unpleasant, and being unwilling to intrude on private grief, some say it might be best not to discuss it all, and simply sweep it under the carpet.

Siren voices! Please, fellow Anglicans, do not listen to them! We have managed in the Church of England, diocesan synod by painful diocesan synod, to reject it. But the Secretary-General of the Anglican Communion regards this as merely a little local difficulty. Is he burying his head in the sand like the man in the YouTube video which illustrates this post? That is a matter of opinion.

But my fellow members of the Church of England and I are looking for a lead on this from The Episcopal Church. Please do not let us down!¨  HERE  (emphasis added)

·  Thanks to Lay Anglicana, sidebar
·  Thanks to Laura Sykes
·  No Anglican Covenant Coalition

May 6, 2012

Dear Members of the Crown Nominations Commission: ¨I do not think a high-church or low-church orientation is important in 2012¨

Dear Members of the Crown Nominations Commission:

¨I am certain there are many bishops who might be wonderful as the next

Archbishop of Canterbury. It seems as though the past practice has been to
alternate Anglo-Catholics with Evangelicals. I do not think a high-church
or low-church orientation is important in 2012.

As opposed to suggesting a specific candidate, I'd like to suggest that you consider and nominate
bishops who are wise, intelligent, experienced pastors, kind in demeanor to
all persons (even those persons with differing opinions), gentle as opposed
to domineering, not claiming to have all of the answers, not manipulative,
and very charitable. Please consider someone who is not a divisive or
hateful figure.

Do not consider someone who --exhibiting extreme poor
judgment-- is desperate and tasteless enough to use a criminally corrupt
tabloid such as "The News of the World" as a regular public forum or pulpit.

These qualifications would exclude anyone remotely similar to George Carey,
perhaps the worst bishop (and clergyman) in all of English Church history.

Also, please conduct your deliberations in an honourable manner. Secret
meetings conducted by Crown Nominations Commission members in men's toilets
are scandalous, indecent, unseemly, quite disgusting, perhaps unsanitary,
and open the Church to well-deserved ridicule by members of the public. No
CNC member (for example, the current Archbishop of York) who has been known
to discuss Church appointments (for recommendation to the Queen) while
cottaging in a public toilet should be considered suitable as a candidate
for Archbishop of Canterbury.

Also, I do not agree with the presence of a
person on the Commission who endorses so-called reparative therapy for gay
persons (a harmful, perverse, and abusive practice discredited by sound
research and repudiated by the medical community). There is no more place
on the CNC for a homophobic medical quack than a racist.

Thank you for permitting me the opportunity to share my suggestions and opinions.¨

Note: This email was sent to the Crown Nominating Commission by an American, cradle Episcopalian living and working in Europe.

May 5, 2012

ANOTHER RETURN JOURNEY HOME -- FALLS CHURCH EPISCOPAL: ¨All are welcome, all are loved, all are accepted¨

Federal Troops at Falls Church Episcopal (1862) HERE
¨In December 2006, the majority of worshipers at The Falls Church Episcopal decided to disaffiliate from the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia and the National Church. However, a number of us felt, for a variety of reasons, called to start worshipping again as Episcopalians. Without access to our church building, we met in the living room of our home on a frigid Sunday in January 2007. An Episcopal Navy Chaplin came and oversaw our first service.

We elected a vestry, held communion, and shared our sadness that we could no longer worship as a group in our beloved church but also our joy that we were creating a new thing in Jesus Christ.

Word got around that we were meeting as Episcopalians and the second Sunday more people came. By the third week, we had too many to sit in our house so my husband called the Falls Church Presbyterian minister Tom Schmid, to ask if there was any possibility of using a space at their church. A kind man, Tom said he and his leadership were waiting for our call and he immediately offered us his loft space overlooking their Fellowship Hall. We moved in the next week!

These last five and half years have been challenging but also tremendously gratifying. In the early days of this new journey, we had nothing but our small group and our faith that we were doing the right thing in God's eyes. We were grateful for our Episcopal friends around Northern Virginia who gave us prayer books, altar linens and communion service items. As we had no offices, our ministers worked out of their cars. We would laughingly call our church "a church in a box" since we had to unpack and pack up every Sunday in the lovely but limited space we had, used by other groups throughout the week.

We shared coffee hour with our friends at the Presbyterian Church, and gradually joined with them in outreach programs to the community and Vacation Bible School. They will always be our friends in Christ.

Over the years, we have become a vibrant 200-plus congregation whose members include energetic families, young couples and our wise seniors such as 98-year-old Jesse Thackery, first female Senior Warden of The Falls Church. Some of our newer members had never worshipped at the historic Falls Church. We are all together now as "a welcoming group of believers whose message is one of trust in the hope-filled promises of Jesus Christ, love for one another, and service to the community." As scripture says, "Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body." (I Corinthians 12: 12-13).

On Easter Sunday, nearly four hundred of us gathered on a glorious day to worship. Although the courts had decided that the departing group should return our buildings, the deadline for that change was still three weeks away so we appreciated greatly the offer by the Falls Church CANA to celebrate in the historic church. It was wonderful to sit in the comfortable smoothness of the old wooden pews, to hear the gorgeous sounds of the organ and the rich voices of the choir, the laughter of the children hunting for Easter Eggs after the service and the friendly banter of hundreds of people sharing the joy of our Lord's resurrection. That day gave us the hope that we would again return in full as Episcopal stewards of God's house.

Many are leaving the church they have called home for decades. We know exactly how it feels.

Late last Friday Judge Bellows of the Fairfax Circuit Court rejected the request of TFC CANA to stay in the building pending final appeal. The Episcopalians will be returning to our historic home in two weeks, with our first service on May 20. The CANA leadership has been very helpful in making this transition. We know it will be enormously difficult for them...please read it all,  by Robin Fetsch, HERE  

·  Thanks to The Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, TEC
·  Thanks to Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, TEC
·  Thanks to Falls Church Episcopal
·  Thanks to Judge Bellows, Fairfax Circuit Court
·  Thanks to Falls Church News Press, HERE
·  Thanks to Three Rivers Episcopal, sidebar

May 4, 2012

SAINT AUGUSTINE OF CANTERBURY: A prayer for the ´return to unity of thy truth´

Archiepiscopal chair in Canterbury Cathedral

Prayer for the Feast of Saint Augustine of Canterbury

O God, Who by the preaching and miracles of blessed Augustine, Thy Confessor and Bishop, didst vouchsafe to shed upon the English people the light of the true faith; grant that, through his intercession, the hearts of those that have gone astray may return to the unity of Thy truth, and that we may be of one mind in doing Thy will. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one world without end. Amen

There have been 104 Archbishops starting in 597 AD with Augustine.

¨Named after the first Archbishop of Canterbury, St Augustine of Canterbury, the chair is made of Purbeck Marble or Bethesda Marble and dates to sometime between the sixth and twelfth centuries. Those who argue for an older date suggest that it may have been used to crown the kings of Kent. It has been in use since at least 1205. Canterbury Cathedral, in which the cathedra is housed, maintains that the chair was once part of the furnishings of the shrine of St Thomas Becket, which was destroyed during the English Reformation.

Since antiquity, it has always had a place in the triple enthronement of an Archbishop of Canterbury. He is seated on the throne in the choir as Diocesan Bishop, in the chapter house as titular abbot, and in St. Augustine's chair as Primate of All England. This is the only occasion in which this cathedra is used. A second one is used for other occasions in which the archbishop is present...¨ HERE

Roles and priorities

The various roles and responsibilities of the Archbishop of Canterbury have developed over more than 1400 years of history. The one constant is his ministry as a senior bishop, though the nature and purpose of his authority differs in different contexts

¨The central role, and the source of the archbishop's authority, is as Bishop of the Diocese of Canterbury (the local church of Canterbury), which covers most of the county of Kent. The worship, teaching, discipleship and mission of that diocese are his particular personal responsibility. All other roles are rooted in this one.

The Archbishop of Canterbury is the Primate of All England (the 'first bishop' of England), and shares several roles with the Archbishop of York. For well over a thousand years the distinction of the Diocese of Canterbury has given its bishop formal responsibility as a 'metropolitan' - the first among the bishops of a region. He has authority (also known as 'jurisdiction') at all times in the 30 dioceses of his Province - 29 in southern England, and 1 in Continental Europe. York has the same roles in relation to the 14 dioceses of his Province.

Based on his oversight in the Church of England, the Archbishop of Canterbury became the original sign of the unity of the bishops and local churches of the Anglican Communion, which has developed over the last 200 years or so. He is the focus and spokesman of its unity today, but shares his oversight as president of the Communion with other bodies.

In the last two areas of dialogue and activity - Ecumenical relationships between Christian Churches, and Inter Religious relationships between different traditional world religions - the Archbishop has no formal authority. But his role in England and the UK, and his leadership in the Communion at large, give him significant influence and the responsibility to speak authoritatively for the faith and witness of the Church, the Anglican Church in particular.¨ HERE

·  Thanks to Wikipedia
·  Thanks to St. Augustine of Canterbury
·  Thanks to The Archbishop of Canterbury, Information
·  Thanks to The Crown Nominations Commission
·  Thanks to Thinking Anglicans, HERE

May 3, 2012

FAITHFILLED RELIGIOUS LEADERS OF COLOR: The Archbishop of York may fail to be nominated as the next Archbishop of Canterbury -- ¨not because he is black¨

Archbishop Desmond Tutu and His Holiness the Dalai Lama
Archbishop of York, John Sentamu
George Pitcher, Archbishop Williams’ former public affairs secretary, writing in his Daily Mail blog, said if Sentamu failed to be elected, it would not be because he is black.

“Lately, it’s true that some of his critics have concluded that their views are as valid and innocent as if he were a white man,” he wrote. “And so I’ve heard these words: capricious, impulsive, vain with the media and quick to temper (as well, I might add, as words such as prophetic, inspirational, generous and kind). None of these words has anything to do with Dr Sentamu’s ethnicity.”  HERE


My first disappointing memory of ++John was when he visited the Episcopal Church -- TEC -- General Convention in Minneapolis 2003.  The Archbishop of York was very busy campaigning/lobbying against LGBT people who aspired to participate at all levels of Churchlife and he even made up little unattractive/nasty ¨smearing¨ song lyrics against Gay people while accompaning himself at the piano...such a hurtful and childish bully of a foolish kidder is he. 

Fast forward and he was documented, by The Very Reverend Colin Slee, R.I.P., to have had behind the scenes (mens toilet meet-ups with members of the Crown Nominations Commission) to campaign against The Very Reverend Jeffrey John who had been shortlisted for elevation to Bishop of Southwark.  HERE

Archbishop Sentamu ought know better but it seems he and his ¨promoters¨ do not have a clear understanding of equality.  John Sentamu became a naturalized citizen of the United Kingdom after rushing from Uganda and the persecution of Idi Amin.  John Sentamu became a priest, a  bishop (something he denied Jeffrey John+) and the Archbishop of York at the Church of England. 

I see NO discrimination against him at the Church of England but I do see that the Lord of York has, by fact and real acts, discriminates against others.  My hope is that he will not be enthroned as Archbishop of Canterbury and it won´t be because he is a person of color, Ugandan born and will because ++York has failed us as a gracious human being and failed to love all *others* at the body of Christ.  Dr. Sentamu does not love all others equally as he has been loved and his race has continously been embraced (he even says so HERE)...not equally in England, not in The United Kingdom, not in Uganda, not in the Americas or beyond. John Sentamu harms others with his well known prejudice.  
The very first thing I read this morning was an article from Reuters covering the ¨Race for new Church of England leader stirs up accusations of racism¨ Avril Ormsby, Reuters May 2, 2012 – 12:55 PM ET  HERE ...the ¨propaganda¨ of the pot calling the kettle black.

Leonardo Ricardo 

May 2, 2012

MIRA! ¨A Scottish Episcopal church in Edinburgh has unveiled a mural of two men marrying in a religious ceremony.¨

¨St John’s Church on Princes Street, one of Edinburgh’s main streets, has a history of topical murals going back thirty years, displayed in full view to passers-by on the busy road.

Donald Reid, Associate Rector at the church, told it was on the “progressive end of the spectrum”.

He said many photographs have been taken but there had been no negative feedback to the mural whatsoever since it was erected on Saturday.

The image of two men, one about to place a ring on the other’s finger while a priest looks on under the words ‘God is love’ should stay up on the side of the church for two weeks...¨  there is more, God is love, HERE

·  Thanks to Of Course I Could Be Wrong, sidebar
·  Thanks to The Scottish Episcopal Church, Edinburgh
·  Thanks to The Rev. Donald Reid, St. John´s Church, Princes Street
·  Thanks to Mad Priest
·  Thanks to Pink News, Stephen Gray

May 1, 2012

NO ANGLICAN COVENANT: ¨Coalition Plans Next Steps¨

The No Anglican Covenant Coalition is an international group of Anglicans concerned about how the proposed Anglican Covenant would radically change the nature of the Anglican Communion
LONDON – With diocesan synod voting in the Church of England completed, and with 26 dioceses having rejected the proposed Anglican Covenant, the No Anglican Covenant Coalition is preparing for the next steps in its international campaign, including the appointment of a new Moderator, the Revd Malcolm French, a parish priest in the Anglican Church of Canada. The Revd Jean Mayland, a retired priest, will be the No Anglican Covenant Coalition Convenor for the Church of England.

“We have accomplished what many thought was an impossible task,” said the Coalition’s first Moderator, the Revd Dr Lesley Crawley. “After a full and fair debate, the Church of England has rejected the Anglican Covenant, and it cannot be considered again prior to 2015. As the campaign moves on to other fronts, this is an opportune time for me to hand over the leadership of the Coalition. Malcolm and Jean have been key members of the Coalition from the start, and I am confident the Coalition will experience continued success under Malcolm’s leadership.”

“Lesley stepped up to lead the Coalition with courage and commitment,” said French. “As we move forward, I will look to Lesley’s example of empowering leadership. The defeat of the Anglican Covenant in the Church of England has changed the playing field in the rest of the Anglican Communion. We are confident that a fair debate on the merits will lead to the defeat of the Covenant in several more Communion churches, just as we saw in the Church of England.”

Over the next six months, several more churches will consider the proposed Covenant, including the Scottish Episcopal Church, in June, and The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, both in July. Canadian dioceses have begun studying the Covenant in preparation for General Synod 2013. A model General Convention resolution has been prepared to assist General Convention deputies in the Episcopal Church who may wish to submit a resolution on the Covenant. The model resolution, along with other supporting material, is available at the No Anglican Covenant website HERE   (emphasis added, Leonardo Ricardo)