letter to Austin Rhodes

Austin,
 
I wanted to reply to your comments about the Gay Community not being in support of the Gay Pride celebration, and those leading the effort are not from the CSRA.  Isaac Kelly is the president of Augusta Pride and he has been in Augusta his whole life and so have most (if not all) member of the Augusta Pride Board.   Isaac just wants his home town to be a more open and accepting community for the gay community.  Isaac has said himself that he did not want to it be a political thing, but has made the motto “Community for all”
 
I am conservative and Christian.  I happen to be gay as well.  I am looking forward to Gay the Pride and hope to show Augusta that most of gay community in the CSRA are conservative and Christian here as well.  No, not all gay people are, but we are definitely not what we are accused of being in the rhetoric in the Augusta Chronicle.  To call me and my friends pedofiles and hedons? What is the basis for this? Do these people even know me?  Me and my partner both work in healthcare and our whole lives are devoted to helping people stay healthy and happy.  We are both Christians, but we are constantly faced with this bias and hateful words in this community.  So many of our gay friends who were born here are afraid.  I have friends who have been in monogomous, loving relationships for 5+ years, but are afraid to tell their own families or let others know out of fear of what might be said or done to them.  In Georgia (and I am pretty sure South Carolina too) you can be fired just for being gay. 
 
I give devote my life everyday to helping others out and being who I believe Christ wants me to be.  I believe God has put my partner in my life, and together we are better adept to live out our callings in life.  I know this is an uphill battle in Augusta, for people to see us for who we are.  We are God’s children too and all I want is to be able to proudly talk about my partner at work or in social conversation.  But so many in Augusta want me to feel ashamed, or further, seek to damn me because I am in a relationship with a man.  That is wrong and just not a Christian way of acting.
 
The Augusta Gay Pride event is for all of the CSRA, gay and straight.  I know this year will be tough because all anyone has to go by is their pre-conceived notions. But hopefully this is something that can be a source of pride for the whole CSRA community, just like the Greek festival or any other celebration.

Murder in Hoosier-ville: Gay I.U. professor killed by Marine

Don Belton, Indiana University Professor

 

Don Belton, an openly gay man and assistant professor in English at Indiana University, was found stabbed to death in his home during the last week of 2009.  Michael James Griffin, 25, of Bloomington, Indiana has already been charged with Belton’s murder.  Griffin is decorated member of the Marine Corps who served in Iraq.   

The two men appeared to have had a short, confused relationship   

According to local news stories, Griffin told investigators Belton had sexually assaulted him twice on Christmas. Then early that Sunday, Griffon went to see Belton at his home to talk about the incident. According to Detective Marty Deckard’s sworn statement. “He (Griffin) felt that Mr. Belton was not in any way forgiving and that he did not show or express any type of feeling that what had taken place was a mistake.”  It was at this visit that the argument turned physical, and Griffin stabbed Belton with a 10-inch blade “until he quit moving,” according to the report.   

I have yet to hear this story hit the national GLBT news media.  And I have to wonder why… Is it no longer a national headline that a gay man was brutally stabbed to death by a possible lover who has claimed that this much older, and apparently less physically fit gay man anally assaulted him while he slept.  And supposedly his girlfriend was in bed with him at the time

   

Michael Griffon, Charged with Murder

 

I waiting to see if this case gets any national attention and how the trial will play out.  I wonder if the PTSD excuse will be used or if anti-gay jurers will be sympathetic to Griffin being a victim of an alleged rape, even though that really does not seem physically possible.   

More than likely, Griffin had been living a double-life.  The tragedy is that Griffin does have a 2 year old son, but hopefully he is young enough not to process the evils his dad has committed.   

For more information on this case, look for stories on HeraldTimesOnline.com

Gay Identity vs. chrixians: Greed, Aversion, Dillusions

First of all, I am coining the term “chrixians” so as not to be confused with Christians, true followers of Christ. It is evident that a chrixian culture has emerged separate from any Biblical teachings of Christ.  Organized religion has long tradition of being used as a means of social power and pressure to conform to certain behaviors.  This unfortunate truth is reiterated in our current culture especially in the context of gay identity and the chrixian evangelicals who surround themselves with money and power while falsely condemning minorities in Christ’s name.

I do believe there are still many true Christians, folks with hearts and souls who choose to act toward all humans with love, compassion, and servitude.  This is in contrast to the prideful, avaricious chrixians that seek to control out of fear. 

Three of the main tools used by chrixians against the Gay community are Greed, Aversion, and Dillusions. Many chrixians covet material goods.  They need to gather in the most modern buildings adorned with elaborate decor and strongly preach at members to give, give, and give. And by giving, they mean money.  As long as chrixians shows  up once a week and writes a check, then they will be saved. Fear and far between are those chrixian members who are willing to give of themselves and sacrifice some of their precious time.

Aversion is the #1 tool used against the gay community. The chrixian leaders play off the fears of their followers. Almost all men grew up in an environment where being “gay” was a consistant slur and label of what was uncool or something to avoid.  It is used as a verbal signal that you are not living up to your masculinity. For women, anti-gay chrixians often bring children into the discussion, working against mothers’ protective instinct.  Slogan’s such as “gays recruit” or the myth that gays are all child molesters strike fear into women’s hearts.

This line of thought plays into the dillusions held on by so many chrixians.  Scientifically reasonings is so quickly dismissed in any discussion of gay issues. None of the myth regarding gays and children have any scientific validity. The chrixians will simply answer that the Bible was against homosexuality, so they must be as well. Moreover, it is their chrixian duty to make sure that everyone believes as they do.  This is not the post to get into the topic of how the Bible is virtual silent on the issue of gay identity as we know it today.  But it is easy to point out how any scriptures that are even remotely gay-related are at the very least a minor topic in the Bible, so much so that Jesus himself never even brought up the topic in any of his teachings. 

I’ll tell you what was important, loving your neighbor as yourself, being non-judgmental, living a life of servitude, and being giving and compassionate.

So I challenge you to call out those chrixians on their motives.  Do they say their words out of fear or out of love?  And, even those speaking out of love, are they dillusional thoughts based on no sound logic? Just seem for yourself how often the theme of either greed, aversion/fear, or dillusions are behind the intentions of chrixians.

Vocational Fitness: who are the “Disabled?”

I want the CSRA to be well. From my perspective, one of the fundamental components of wellness is vocational fitness, or the ability to be gainfully productive in employment. I am very passionate about helping folks stay fit and remain productive members of society.  However, one of my biggest pet peeves are those who seek disability and are still able to work.

I recently asked my partner (who is also in healthcare and works with “disabled”), How many of your “disabled” patients do you honestly feel are not fit to work?  We both independently

 came up with the some percentage, about ONE THIRD.  I do believe we both have somewhat biased perspectives and see a skewed population.  However, I do believe this to be highly reflectively of prevelant laziness and entitlement attitude here in the CSRA.

Yes, most person I’ve interacted with have had an adverse medical event.  Yet, many are young and there is no reason that these clinical conditions prevent them for re-entering the workplace.  It’s just easier for them to take disability and live off the system.  This type of attitude irks me like nothing else.

I believe in individual accountability and doing everything you can to get yourself back on your feet. The states of Georgia and South Carolina has some great programs that will help pay for someone’s recover and assist with getting a job.  Yet, many just are not motivated to.

I say, “Get off the couch CSRA!!” Everyone has a purpose, some role on this earth.  We must love and respect ourselves enough to embrace whatever gifts and talents we possess and be an active, productive member of the community.

Over and Out.

An Episcopal priest responds

Here is one Christian perspective on being gay… 
From: thepriest@windstream.net
Date: Wed, 16 Dec 2009 14:25:47 -0500
I certainly don’t want to address ECLA polity and governance.  I wouldn’t know a thing about how they are ruled.  On the matter of homosexuality as the Episcopal church seems to address it:
1.  We have increasing evidence that a homosexual orientation is not a matter of an individual’s choice.
2.  That means that the orientation is either the result of environmental influences or is innate (read: God-given)
3.  Research has been unsuccessful in finding causes or correlation between a homosexual orientation and environmental factors (especially in studying families) and appears to be closing in on actual differences in brain structure as a cause.
 
That’s the science
 
Here’s the theology:
 
1.  the word “homosexual” did not exist until the 19th century, and while same-sex relationships have probably been around as long as human beings (and many other species) the Bible does not directly make any statement about that as an orientation or as a lifestyle.
2.  in some  cults, sex was a part of religious practice, and since there is always a conflict between Yahwehism and other “pagan ” religions, bible writers stressed those distinctions.
3.  The Bible is clear that the value of a human being is so great that force or the threat of force to coerce anything is wrong; therefore any forced sexual activity is wrong (see the visitors to Sodom).  Other scripture passages are very unclear about their actual meaning.  Greek and Hebrew words hint at certain kinds of behavior, but attributes like force or even sloth are always a part of the word meanings. 
4.  One of the earliest descriptions of human beings is that “it is not good for the man to be alone,” yet those who oppose homosexual relationships offer only celibacy as an alternative.
5. There probably has never before been a distinct option for a recognized monogamous relationship between same-sex couples.  There certainly have been such couples throughout history, and the result of their love was always something good for God’s Kingdom.  “By their fruits you shall know them”
6. The Episcopal church calls all couples to the same standards of fidelity and love and permanence.
 
Hope that’s grist for the mill.

GLBT & Health Care Reform

There has been little press in the national media concerning the aspects of health care relevant to the GLBT community.  It is exciting to note that current House Bill includes some major, positive aspects for the gay community. These include:

(1)  provisions that categorize GLBT people as a “health disparities population,” ensuring that down the road, data collection and grant programs can focus on health concerns uniquely experienced by the GLBT population in this country.

(2)  Ending the unfair practice of taxing employer-provided domestic partner health benefits, allowing  GLBT people to obtain domestic partner health benefits for their partners and families without having to pay a tax penalty.

(3) the bill incorporates a non-discrimination clause that prohibits the consideration of personal characteristics unrelated to the provision of health care. That likely means that GLBT people will be protected from discrimination in the health care system.

(4) the bill will allow states to cover early HIV treatment under their Medicaid programs, a departure from a current policy that only allows states to use Medicaid funds once a patient develops full-blown AIDS.

Unfortunately, the recently passed Senate Bill does not include any of these measures.  Hopefully these measures will survive the reconciliation process as the Bill moves forward.

Reference: http://gayrights.change.org/blog/view/why_the_us_houses_health_reform_bill_is_good_news_for_gay_rights

Light in the dark

I heard a good quote today that made me reflect on CSRA’s gay movement: “Doesn’t matter how long a cave has been dark! Striking a match will fill it with light in no time.”

I feel with the upcoming pride that the gay community has struck its match and I hope to keep that light going. The Augusta community is filled with prejudice and disingenuous attitudes  that falsely use the Bible to preach hateful words. But as a community, we can begin to provide light to the truth of the Bible, which is filled with inspiring words of love and compassion.

We all try to achieve enlightenment. This is easier if you just see darkness as the absence of light. Darkness cannot resist. Just like the emptiness in a glass cannot resist being filled with water, darkness immediately disappears when light comes in.