You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘LGBT rights’ tag.

I believe there is a value in society deeming some crimes as being more “bad” than others. Generally, this is done by making the sentences longer for some crimes than others. And so it is with hate crime legislation. Society (through its legislative bodies) deems certain crimes as worse than others. Murder is considered a worse crime than assault and battery so murderers get longer sentences than batterers.

But in the case of hate crimes, what makes a crime worse than other is not the act itself. What makes the crime worse is the motivation for the act. “I beat up that guy because he’s gay and I hate gay people” is considered a worse battery than “I beat up that guy because he owes me money and I hate people who don’t pay their debts.”

At one level, this is good. Society recognizes that groups of people, categories of people are disproportionately the victims of crimes and that the motivation for these crimes is an animus because of a trait these people have (or are perceived to have). Calling crimes motivated by this animus “worse” than similar crimes motivated by another reason is a way of society saying that the animus itself is not okay.

And I think that we, as a society, should say that it’s not okay to hate someone because of their (actual or perceived) race, ethnic origin, religion, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, disability, and so forth.
We should say that it’s not okay, but I have a problem with criminalizing such animus. And classifying crimes motivated by such hatred as being worse than the same crime motivated by something else (even a different sort of hatred, like hating people who don’t pay their debts) criminalizes thoughts and feelings. This liberal has a hard time with that.

Advertisements

A sermon preached at Niles Discovery Church
A new church for a new day, forming from the merger of
Niles Congregational Church, UCC, and First Christian Church, DOC,
in Fremont, on Sunday, September 9, 2012, by the Rev. Jeffrey Spencer.
Scripture:  Deuteronomy 34:1-6 and Mark 7:24-30
Copyright © 2012 by Jeffrey S. Spencer

            I can’t help but wonder how Moses felt there on Mount Nebo, looking over the Promised Land.  I wonder how he felt knowing that he had led his people through a desert, through the wilderness, right to the door of the land that they believed was supposed to be theirs, knowing that they were about to enter it, but he would not be.

I imagine him, there on the mountaintop, looking over the Promised Land, chatting with God, learning that he was going to die.  Had discussions with God become old hat for Moses?  I suppose I’d be filled with awe to have God saying to me, “Look over there and over there.  Look all the way to the sea.  Yep, that’s the land I’ve set aside for you.  Pretty cool, huh?  Oh, by the way, you know that part about you not being able to enter that land?  I meant it.”  Well, I’d be filled with awe right up to that last part, then I’d probably be pretty ticked with God.

Moses had one heck of a roller coaster of a life:  Born into slavery at a time when Pharaoh had decreed that all Hebrew male infants were to be killed when they were born; hidden in the bull rushes, only to be “found” by Pharaoh’s daughter and brought into Pharaoh’s house to be raised as her son; committed homicide when he killed an Egyptian overseer and fled the country to escape prosecution; got married and while tending sheep, had an encounter with a burning bush; called into a special mission and returned to Egypt to confront Pharaoh and demand the release of the Hebrew slaves; led the people through the wilderness for 40 years, transforming the people from a collection of freed slaves into a community of faith, a people of covenant; led the people right up to the border of what was going to become their new land.  And then God tells him, “Sorry, but you’re not going in.  You’re going to die instead.”

Jewish Midrash is filled with stories about Moses and God having a discussion about all this.  One goes like this.[1]
God:  “Did I tell you to slay the Egyptian?”
Moses:  “But you killed all the first born in Egypt!”
God:  “Do you resemble me?  I cause people to die and I also revive them.”
I love the image of Moses arguing with God.

But I can’t read this passage without thinking of Martin Luther King, Jr.  One of his speeches, perhaps the second most famous of his speeches has been called his “I’ve Been to the Mountain Top” speech.  King delivered it on April 3, 1968, at the Mason Temple (the Church of God in Christ headquarter) in Memphis, Tennessee.

Most of his speech was about the Memphis Sanitation Workers strike.  King talked about the workers and their strike.  He talked about racial justice and civil right.  He talked about the power of boycotts and nonviolent protest.  And he finished his speech by talking about himself.

“And then I got to Memphis.  And some began to say the threats, or talk about the threats that were out.  What would happen to me from some of our sick white brothers?  Well, I don’t know what will happen now.  We’ve got some difficult days ahead.  But it doesn’t really matter with me now.  Because I’ve been to the mountaintop.  I don’t mind.

“Like anybody, I would like to live  a long life; longevity has its place.  But I’m not concerned about that now.  I just want to do God’s will.  And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain.  And I’ve looked over.  And I’ve seen the Promised Land.  I may not get there with you.  But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land.  So I’m happy, tonight.  I’m not worried about anything.  I’m not fearing any man.  ‘Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.’”[2]

The next day, King was assassinated.

Here we are, on the edge of something new.  This is not as momentous as the Hebrews entering the Promised Land.  This is not as earth-shaking as the assassination of one of American’s prophets.  But we are here, just on this side of finalizing a merger we’ve been exploring and considering for seven years.

There have been times when these seven years have seemed like a long time to me.  I’ve felt, at times, like we’ve been going in circles, not making progress.  There have even been times when I’ve wondered if it was worth the effort.  But most often, I’ve watched relationships grow and trust build and vision take hold and hope blossom.

Pardon me for being redundant, but there is something very special about the work we’ve done and this promised land we are about to enter.  All the literature I’ve been able to find about congregational mergers has been about mergers undertaken as a matter of congregational survival.  Neither Niles Congregational Church nor First Christian Church needed to merge into a new church.  But each congregation discerned that we could do more for the realm of God together then we could do separately, so we decided to merge and form Niles Discovery Church.

We decided to create a church that would be known for its extravagant welcome.  We decided to create a church that is united in God’s love for everyone’s journey … no exceptions.  And so we’re creating a church[3] where we follow the path and teachings of Jesus to draw us closer to God, even as we acknowledge that other paths work for other people; where inclusivity means welcoming conventional Christians and questioning skeptics, believers and agnostics, people of all gender identities and sexual orientations, and those of all classes and abilities; where we know that the way we behave towards one another is the fullest expression of what we believe, and where we find grace in the search for understanding and believe there is more value in questioning than in absolutes; where we strive for peace and justice among all people; where we strive to protect and restore the integrity of our earth; and where we commit to each other and to God that we will continue on a path of life-long learning, compassion, and selfless love.

I believe that this vision we have for our church is a biblical image.  One of the things that’s striking about our Gospel lesson today is the exchange between Jesus and the Syrophoenician woman.  We squirm a bit when Jesus, our loving and tender Savior, tells a desperate mother that she and her little girl are like “dogs.”  “Our discomfort – with Jesus’ humanity and his perspective as a faithful Jew – trips us up on this exchange, even though things turn out well in the end.”[4]  But Kate Huey suggests that this story might be an expression of one of the challenges the early church faced:  do we allow pagans (non-Jews) to be part of the church?

She points out, “Just before Jesus leaves on this little break from the crowds, he has shocked the religious authorities by declaring all foods clean and by focusing instead on what lives in our hearts.  Now, whether he wants to or not, he encounters a tenacious, determined mother in search of healing for her little girl, a woman who will not be turned away from the table of God’s grace, even if all she gets is the crumbs that fell to the floor.  She uses her wits in a culture that values riddles for figuring things out, and she wins both the argument and the healing she has requested of this teacher from another religion and another land.  Borders are crossed, hearts are opened, and so is the Christian mission, as Gentiles (and women) embrace the good news of the gospel.  Just as Jesus declared all foods clean, then, he declares all people ‘clean,’ acceptable, included at the table.”[5]

Take in this moment.  Be aware of this day.  Right now, we are on this side of the border, and in a few moments we will take the votes that are necessary to cross the “T”s and dot the “I”s so we will become a fully merged church, a new church for a new day, Niles Discovery Church, united in God’s love for everyone’s journey … no exception.

Thanks be to God.  Amen.


[1] W. Gunther Plaut, ed., The Torah: A Modern Commentary (New York: The Union of American Hebrew Congregations, 1981), p. 1585.

[2] Martin Luther King, Jr., “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop,” American Rhetoric, http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/mlkivebeentothemountaintop.htm (8 September 2012).

[3] Based on the 8 Affirmations of ProgressiveChristianity.org, http://progressivechristianity.org/resources/8-points-flyer-2011-version/ (8 September 2012).

[4] Kate Huey, “Weekly Seeds” email from the United Church of Christ, commenting on this Gospel lesson, emailed 31 August 2012.

[5] Ibid.

You’ve probably seen the news, but I have to make sure it’s included on my blog.  Sadly, the bullying and deaths continue.  With the start of a new school year, many young students are vulnerable and those of us who are supportive need to stand up for justice, inclusion, and affirmation.

I’ve decided to post my favorite posts from my Facebook wall during the preceding week each Friday.  Here’s Last week on Facebook.

From Monday, September 26:
“We have long suffered in silence when life happens, not wanting to question God’s almighty will or ability to know what is best for us. But the Bible is full of individuals who were messes – David, Saul who became Paul, the woman at the well – individuals whom God used in spite of their messy lives. We are all messes in some way. We fail miserably. But God still sees us as beautiful.”
Valda, the head nurse at the assisted living unit where Betty D. King lived her final weeks, speaking to Betty’s son, Michael A. King, quoted in his article “Naming the shadows,” The Christian Century, 8 February 2011, page 12-13.

During the week I shared a host of pictures snagged from other Facebook friends (most of whom shared them from other Facebook friends, etc.).  Here they are:

This Sunday, my church (Niles Discovery Church) will be presenting our fourth graders with new Bibles.  It’s a long tradition of giving kids a Bible of their own, one that they can read and, as we say in the bookplate we put in it, “when you wear it out, return it for a new one.”

As a pastor and a progressive Christian, I want to give the kids a Bible that is both a translation that the kids can read (that’s written at a level they can comprehend) and that is accurate.  This poses a particular challenge when it comes to two letters in the Bible that have been used to condemn lgbt people (especially gay men).

I know it’s a problem because when I was an adolescent, trying to come to terms with my own sexuality, I went to my Bible to see what it said about being gay, and I found 1 Corinthians 6:9-10.  Right there, in the Bible my church had given me, I read, “Surely you know that the wicked will not possess God’s Kingdom. Do not fool yourselves; people who are immoral or who worship idols or are adulterers or homosexual perverts or who steal or are greedy or are drunkards or who slander others or are thieves – none of these will possess God’s Kingdom.” (Good News Translation)

Sure, there are other passages that are used to clobber lgbt people.  There’s the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, in Genesis 19:1-11, but the issue here isn’t so much one of translation as it is of interpretation.  The rape the men of Sodom wanted to commit has been confused with the consensual sex between adult men.  I’m glad God condemned rape.

Leviticus 18:22 & Leviticus 20:13 (those “abomination” passages from the Holiness Code) are pretty clear, but there’s so much else in the Holiness Code that we reject that even my teenaged mind was able to reject these passages, too.  Though, this does raise interesting questions about how we should treat the holiness code (do we ignore it, pick and choose from it, accept all of it, try to find an ethic underneath it rather than the specifics of it?).

There’s Romans 1:26-27, where “unnatural” sex – defined as same-gender relations – is condemned.  But I knew that behaving heterosexually is unnatural for me, so even this passage didn’t clobber me like the others.

No, it was 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 that clobbered me.

So as we’ve prepared to present Bibles to our fourth graders, I’ve been looking at various translations to see how they deal with 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (and a similar passage, 1 Timothy 1:9-10).

With the understanding that the New Revised Standard Version is one of the more accurate English translations available, I started there, looking at how it dealt with the Greek.  The NRSV translates 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, “… fornicators (pornos), idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes (malakos), sodomites (arsenokoites), thieves, …”

Malakos literally means soft or fancy (see Matthew 11:8).  For Paul, probably meant “effeminate,” which would have been a problem because it would be breaking gender roles that were such a part of the social hierarchy; or “vanity,” obsessed with his looks, which has nothing to do with sexual orientation or behavior.

Arsenokoites is a Greek word play: male + bed + [make it a verb] = malebedder.  What’s the best way to understand this word?  A common translation understanding is the adult male in a man/adolescent relationship that could happen in Greek and Roman cultures.  Others think “men who use sex as a means of violence; men who commit rape” is a better understanding of this term.

The NRSV translation is pretty accurate, but it leaves open the question of how to interpret the English word “sodomite.”  Besides, the English used is at least high school level, so it’s not a good translation to give to fourth graders.

The English Standard Version doesn’t do a good job:  “Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”  Their footnote says, “The two Greek terms translated by this phrase [men who practice homosexuality] refer to the passive and active partners in consensual homosexual acts.”  The NIV, which translates the Greek word in question as “men who have sex with men,” has a similarly bad footnote.

Turning to translations that are supposed to be accessible for elementary schoolers, the Contemporary English Version is a bad translation:  “No one who … behaves like a homosexual.”  The new Common English Bible is even worse:  “both participants in same-sex intercourse” as the translation and “submissive and dominant male sexual partners” as a footnote, which is just a stereotyped understanding of gay sexuality.

Of the English translations that are supposed to be accessible to kids, only The Message translates these verses in a way that I find acceptable (though is does border on being a paraphrase):  “Don’t you realize that this is not the way to live? Unjust people who don’t care about God will not be joining in his kingdom. Those who use and abuse each other, use and abuse sex, use and abuse the earth and everything in it, don’t qualify as citizens in God’s kingdom.”

I mentioned earlier that 1 Timothy 1:9-10 is similar to 1 Corinthians 6:9-10.  The Timothy passage also has the word arsenokoites in it – with similar translation problems.  For instance, the NRSV translates these verses, “This means understanding that the law is laid down not for the innocent but for the lawless and disobedient, for the godless and sinful, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their father or mother, for murderers, fornicators, sodomites, slave traders, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to the sound teaching …”  However, the Message translates them, “It’s obvious, isn’t it, that the law code isn’t primarily for people who live responsibly, but for the irresponsible, who defy all authority, riding roughshod over God, life, sex, truth, whatever!”

So, tomorrow, we give our fourth graders Bibles.  We’re giving them Contemporary English Version Bibles because it’s the version we have copies of in a closet at the church.  I hope we spring for The Message next year!

By the way, I’ll be teaching a Confirmation Class this year – junior and senior high youth.  They’ll be getting the NRSV New Interpreters Study Bible.  And we’ll spend some time going over these difficult passages as a way to learn about the challenges of biblical interpretation and to address head-on these clobber passages from a progressive Christian point of view.

Today was a Day of Silence at schools across the country.  According to dayofsilence.org, “On the National Day of Silence hundreds of thousands of students nationwide take a vow of silence to bring attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment in their schools.”

Earlier in the week, a high school student at my church invited me via Facebook to join in the day of silence.  I wondered how I could do it.  I knew my day would include an appointment when I would be interacting with someone and some shopping.  Of course, the phone would ring and I would have phone calls to make.

I thought, too, about what it was like for me 35 years ago to be a teen who was struggling to accept my sexual orientation and the fear I had about being found out.  Fear forced me to be silent.  35 years ago, that fear may have been well founded.  I’m certain there are schools where it is still well founded.

Earlier on my blog, I’ve written about the devastation of suicide and of the disproportionate numbers of lgbt kids (and kids thought to be lgbt) who use this permanent solution to what in reality are temporary problems.  The “It Gets Better” campaign was an attempt by people now launched into adulthood to speak to teens who are struggling with fear, who are feeling like their world is a living hell.

Today, teens are doing their own work in schools across the country to make it get better now.  Holding silence for a day both brings the issue to the surface and strengthens teens, emboldens them, gives them the courage to stand up.

It does get better.  But there is so much work to do – and not just in schools.

Just this week, people were making a fuss about a J. Crew ad that included a mom and her 5-year-old son having some fun that included neon pick toe nail polish.  If you missed the story, check out Jon Stewart’s wonderful reporting and reaction at http://www.hulu.com/watch/232385/the-daily-show-with-jon-stewart-toemageddon-2011-this-little-piggy-went-to-hell.  Once again, Jon Stewart is right on target.  (Wish I could figure out how to drop videos from The Daily Show into my blog.)

Today, instead of holding silence, I’m speaking up.  Here on my blog and via Facebook and Twitter, I’m inviting you to find ways to stand up against homophobia and all forms of bullying.

Three posts on the web were all brought to my attention yesterday, all relating to attitudes toward sexual minority people.

First, the Southern Poverty Law Center, probably the most important organization monitoring hate and hate groups in the United States, released their winter Intelligence Report in late 2010.  In the article, “Gays Remain Minority Most Targeted by Hate Crimes,” reminds us that the Christian Right actually blamed the victims of anti-gay bullying and the organizations that seek to protect them for the bullying gay kids receive and for the suicides that much to frequently follow:

Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association said gay rights activists “pressure these students to declare a disordered sexual preference when they’re too young to know better, [so] they share some culpability.” Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, a key critic of anti-bullying programs, said gay activists were “exploiting these tragedies to push their agenda.” He said that gay kids may know “intuitively” that their desires are “abnormal” and that the claim, pushed by gay activists, that they can’t change “may create a sense of despair that can lead to suicide.” Matt Barber of Liberty Counsel said those activists want “to use the tragedies to increase pressure on the real victims: Christians.”

However, the Report concludes that, in fact, lgbt people and people perceived to be lgbt “are by far the group most targeted in American for violent hate crimes.”

The bottom line: Gay people are more than twice as likely to be attacked in a violent hate crime as Jews or blacks; more than four times as likely as Muslims; and 14 times as likely as Latinos.

The second posting is an essay by Mark D. Jordan on Religion Dispatches (posted on March 22), “Who Wins When Bible is Blamed for Gay Bashing?”  The thrust of Jordan’s essay is not what concerns me today (you can read it if you’re curious).  Instead, I was shocked to learn about the news story that sparked his writing.  Quoting from the essay:

[A] young man is accused of killing an older man for making sexual advances. The weapon was a sock filled with stones; the young man told police that he had been instructed in prayer to apply the Old Testament punishment of stoning.

Combined with the article from the Southern Poverty Law Center, this news is depressing – both for lgbt people and for progressive Christians.

And then, I came upon a third posting on The Christian Science Monitor website.  The opinion piece by Jonathan Merritt posted on March 24, “Evangelical shift on gays: Why ‘clobber scriptures’ are losing ground” brings some good news.

Merritt notes, “The truth is that the vast majority of evangelicals – approximately 7 in 10 – still say they believe homosexual behavior is ‘morally wrong.’”  Nonetheless, he (and I) see a shift coming.  The shift is coming from the younger generation.  Jay Bakker (son of Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, yes that Jim and Tammy Faye) is calling for a re-evaluation of the Christian right’s stand on lgbt people.  Merritt writes:

Brian McLaren, bestselling author and founder of the emerging church movement, moved toward affirmation of gays and lesbians in his 2010 book “A New Kind of Christianity: Ten Questions That Are Transforming the Faith.” He condemns Christians’ obsession with sexuality and urges them to construct “a more honest and robust Christian anthropology.” Christian music icons Jennifer Knapp and Ray Boltz came out of the closet this past year and asked their fans to reconsider their views.

Apparently the sociological data support this conclusion:

Robert Jones, president of Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI), says the data he’s collected bears this shift out. For example, PRRI’s research found that a majority of young evangelicals (ages 18 to 34) now support recognition for some sort of same-sex union. While PRRI’s president Robert Jones is hesitant to predict the future, he notes that the trends among evangelicals on same-sex issues all point in one direction and the group can expect “sea change within a generation.”

The news for lgbt people (and for progressive Christians) isn’t always good.  Lgbt folk are still the primary targets of hate crimes.  People still use the Bible to justify murder.  But things are changing.  Even conservative Christianity may be catching up with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

 

There’s a thin line between words and wounds.  In keeping with my recent blog posts about bullying, I offer this short video (TV ad length).

Update, March 20, 2011:  The YouTube that was here has been taken off of YouTube.  However, you can see this short video at http://community.athinline.org/Video/Tattoo/055D1FFFF01C54EFD001700D70286.  Please check it out.

Billy Lucas was a 15-year-old freshman who had spent less than a month at Greensburg High School in Indiana, but that was long enough to get the message that he wasn’t welcome.  He wasn’t welcome because his peers perceived him to be gay.  The pain of this bullying was enough to make him feel like he had only one option and so he hanged himself.  His mother found her son, hanging, in their barn.  On Billy’s Facebook memorial page, he’s remembered with comments like, “Everyone made fun of him.”

I write about Billy Lucas – and I could be writing about over a dozen other teens who recently killed themselves for similar reason – because I spent two hour yesterday and the corner of Mowry Ave. and Fremont Blvd., in Fremont, holding a sign with his name, age, and picture.  I was there with some 20 to 30 other people, each of us holding signs or candles, asking people to be aware of tragedy of teen-aged suicides and the importance of ending bullying.

As I stood there, watching cars drive by, I wondered about what impact we were having.  Were the parents who drove by with kids in their cars using this as a “teachable moment,” an opportunity to talk with their kids about the damage bullying can cause, giving them the opportunity to open up about any bullying they are experiencing, or empowering them to stand up for the kids that get picked on?

Friends keep posting videos on their Facebook pages from Dan Savage’s “It Gets Better Project,” videos that fill me with hope, videos with messages that LGBT kids need to hear, like this one.

And yet, as important as it is to get this message – that it gets better – to the kids who right now are in crisis, and how important it is that they get help (like connecting with the Trevor Project, 866-488-7386), it is at least equally important that we work to end bullying.

Bullying can take many forms.  It can include:

  • Exclusion – starting rumors, telling others not to be friends with someone, or other actions that would cause someone to be without friends.  (This can happen as cyber-bullying, too, through email, social networking sites, or texting.)
  • Harassment – racial, ethnic, or sexual name-calling or other modes of harassment.
  • Teasing – name-calling, insulting, or other behavior that hurt others’ feelings or make them feel bad about themselves.
  • Physical Bullying – pushing, slapping, grabbing, flicking, poking, pinching, tripping, or other violations of personal space.
  • Severe Physical Bullying – punching, kicking, and similar behavior that could result in injury to others.
  • Threat of serious violence – threats of using a weapon, etc.  [Note, in the case of these last two, we are probably talking about criminal offenses (assault, battery, or threats of the same) and they should be reported to the police.]

So, what do we do?

Well, I suggest that we start by examining and changing our own behavior.  How have we participated in any of these forms of bullying?  I know that I find exclusion to be the form I am most likely to participate in.

Then we need to look at the social institutions we are part of – our workplaces, our faith communities, our social networks – and work to eradicate bullying there.

Next, we need to stand up to bullying when we witness it.  Call it what it is and make it clear that the behavior is not acceptable.

And finally, we need to engage our political leaders.  We need to connect with school boards and state legislatures to see that anti-bullying policies and legislation are adopted and enforced.  And we need to connect with our congress members and the President to make sure that our foreign policy is not based on bullying.

We have work to do, so let’s get to work.

When I was in college, President Jimmy Carter reinstituted draft registration as a response to the Soviet Union invading Afghanistan.  Many of us were concerned that it wouldn’t be long before a draft was started and we would be sent to war.  The English department of my college offered a January session writing class for those of us who considered ourselves to be conscientious objectors.  We would have discussions and writing assignments to get us to explore our beliefs more deeply and to help us craft a paper that we could use to explain our conscientious objections to draft boards.

The first assignment was to write a paper about whether or not we thought it was moral to start the draft back up.  I argued that it was not.  The second assignment was to write a paper answering the question, “If a draft is reinstated, should it include women as well as men.”  My paper was very short.  My paper was very short:

In my previous paper, I explained why we should not have a draft.  We should not have a draft of men.  We should not have a draft of women.  We should not have a draft of men and women.

These days, the debate is about gay and lesbian people in the military.

The Rev. John F. Gundlach, a United Church of Christ minister who retired after 23 years as an active-duty naval chaplain, recently wrote in Stars and Stripes about ending the military’s “Don’t Ask; Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy that bars gays and lesbians from openly serving.  His focus was more on the role of chaplains should DADT end then on the policy decision itself, though he supports ending DADT.

His concluding paragraph says:

This current struggle will, indeed, test the mettle of the services and their Chaplain Corps. The real question here is whether justice will be done, and whether chaplains will be part of the solution or continue to be part of the problem.

Facebook friends have posted the link to this article and one even emailed me the link.  They are universally proud that a military chaplain (even retired) is standing up against DADT and against the chaplains who are falsely claiming that ending DADT will violate the religious freedom of chaplains who are homophobic.

The truth is, almost all of my friends – LGBT and heterosexual – oppose DADT.  They think LGBT people should be allowed to serve openly and honorably in the military services of our country.  I respect them and I appreciate their standing up for LGBT equality.  And I disagree with them.

Imagine with me that DADT was expanded, instead of abolished.  Imagine what would happen if DADT included heterosexuals.  What if no one was allowed to serve in the military … imagine what would happen then.

No military at all.

Back in college, I was right.  It is wrong to draft men, women, or men & women.  It is wrong because war is not an answer to our fears and vulnerabilities and the purpose of the military is to fight wars.  The only thing that can protect us from our fears is the perfect love of God.

So, I question the existence of our military as it is presently constituted.  There may be a need for an international police force that can intervene when necessary as police (rather than as an invading army), for instance when genocides are taking place (like in Darfur), but we cannot simultaneously prepare for war and create peace.

Categories

Jeff’s Twitter Feed

Archives

Blog Stats

  • 30,467 hits
Advertisements