June 14, 2005

The Workplace Religious Freedom Act

Filed under: Random Stuff — Bob Gifford @ 12:18 pm

Slate has an article examining the arguments pro and con regarding the Workplace Freedom Religious Act. They ultimately come down against it:

WFRA would make it easier for employees to demand scheduling changes and dress-code exemptions. But it would also make it easier for them to press the more troubling sorts of claims. And judges trying to separate the spiritual wheat from the ideological chaff would be forced to interpret religious doctrine, an imprudent and probably unconstitutional entanglement of church and state.

For some more background on the WRFA, here is the UUA’s backgrounder.

The odd thing about the WRFA is that it seems to have been caught up in two parallel universes.

Alternate Reality 1 The WRFA is sponsored by Rick Santorum and cosponsored by Zell Miller, John Cornyn, Orrin Hatch and a bunch of conservatives. The ACLU and Americans United for Separation of Church and State oppose it. According to the ACLU, the bill would protect employees such as these past litigants:

A nurse employed in a maternity ward sued after she was fired because she refused on religious grounds to scrub for an emergency caesarian section and left a woman “standing in a pool of blood” for 30 minutes. In another case, a police officer sued after he was fired because he refused to guard an abortion clinic.

The WRFA would allow pharmacists to refuse to sell contraceptives and morning-after pills and protect on-the-job proselytization of customers and fellow employees. The bill is an assault by conservatives on a woman’s right to choose.

Alternate Reality 2 The WRFA is sponsored by John Kerry, and cosponsored by Chuck Schumer, Hillary Clinton, Barbara Mikulski and other liberals. It is supported by the National Council of Churches as well as Jewish, Muslim and Sikh religious organizations. The New Republic explains why the WRFA is opposed by business, and ignored by Bush:

[T]he Bush administration never paid more than lip service to the proposal because the business community preferred the status quo, which permits employers to refuse to accommodate religious practices if such accommodation carries any cost.

Sikhs have been fired for refusing to remove their turban and Muslims for refusing to shave their beards. The WRFA protects these members of minority religions from having to choose between their faith and their job.

Real Reality? Both of these alternate universes have some basis in reality. The WRFA is cosponsored by a bipartisan coalition of senators, but is opposed by various liberal and business lobbies. So who is right?

This issue seems to me to be very simple. Just as my right to swing my arm ends at your face, so my right to my religious beliefs ends when I start to intrude on your right to your religious beliefs. (Atheism, secular humanism, or rational skepticism can be considered religious beliefs, since freedom of religion must include freedom to reject religion.) My freedom to swing my arm deserves legal protection, but my freedom to punch you in the face does not, and in fact should be legally prohibited.

If religious freedom is to have any meaning, head scarves, turbans, beards, crosses, sabbaths and religious holidays should be protected by law. The current law exempts employers from accommodating religious practice if the accommodation carries any cost. This is a very weak protection that needs to be strengthened. The WRFA would impose the same standard for accommodation as the American Disabilities Act: employers must accommodate unless it causes an “undue burden”. This is the upside of the WRFA and why some progressives are supporting it.

On the other hand, inflicting our religious beliefs on others in the workplace should not be protected under any circumstances. Employers should be allowed to fire someone for criticizing gay or unmarried cohabitating co-workers or for evangelizing to customers. These behaviors are not the free exercise of religion, but an attempt to deprive others of their free exercise of religion.

More importantly, employers should not have to accommodate an employee’s refusal to perform the “essential functions” (in the words of the WRFA) of their jobs. Pharmacists must dispense the morning-after pill if so required by their employer. Police Officers must be required to enforce the law, all laws, even laws protecting abortion clinics and their patients.

The fear that the WRFA would protect the imposition of religious beliefs on others, particularly anti-abortion beliefs, is the downside risk that is leading some progressive organizations to oppose the WRFA.

Proponents of the WRFA argue that it will not allow this imposition of religious belief, while opponents argue that it will. I don’t pretend to be able to forecast future judicial interpretations of the legislation as written, or to judge whether the language of the legislation could be improved. I do believe that expecting courts to decide when religious freedom crosses the line into religious harassment is reasonable. Just as a hostile work environment demonstrates the existence of sexual harassment, so too a religiously hostile work environment (or learning environment) is evidence of religious harassment.

So I will leave it to others far more knowledgeable about such things than me to determine whether in its current form the WRFA adequately protects against a religiously hostile work environment and ensures that employees must perform a job’s “essential functions”. But if we truly want religious diversity in the workplace, we need a Workplace Religious Freedom Act.

June 12, 2005

Theology Quiz

Filed under: Random Stuff — Bob Gifford @ 10:07 pm

Here’s the latest quiz to look into the depths of our souls, uncovering our exquisite understanding of the profound questions of the divine. That, or the latest quiz for us to waste five minutes amusing ourselves over a bunch of silly questions that only nerds would bother answering.

Given that Bruce, Mike and Greg have already taken the quiz, I’m going with answer number 1.

Fortunately, my results won’t get me expelled from the Lutheran church, although I also seem to be a closet Calvinist. Who would’ve known?

You scored as Martin Luther. The daddy of the Reformation. You are opposed to any Catholic ideas of works-salvation and see the scriptures as being primarily authoritative.

John Calvin

67%

Martin Luther

67%

Anselm

67%

Augustine

60%

Friedrich Schleiermacher

53%

Karl Barth

53%

Paul Tillich

33%

Jürgen Moltmann

33%

Charles Finney

13%

Jonathan Edwards

7%

Which theologian are you?


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Reactions: G8 Cancels Third World Debt

Filed under: Random Stuff — Bob Gifford @ 1:05 am

Update: Jeffrey Sachs has an opinion piece in the LA Times today titled “Africa’s Suffering Is Bush’s Shame” with a reminder of just how much more the US should be doing.

The administration’s claim that budget restraints prevent more spending on Africa is the most cynical of its contentions. The president has cut taxes by more than $200 billion a year, with the wealthiest Americans the chief beneficiaries, and has raised military spending by $200 billion a year. But when $20 billion is needed to keep the poorest of the poor in Africa alive and put the continent’s economies on a path toward long-term growth, there’s no money available.

The millions of Africans who die young and the hundreds of millions going hungry are not victims of fate. They are the consequences of U.S. policy.


The G8 has reached a deal to cancel $40B in third world debt. Tony Blair led the push for the debt cancellation, and the deal was reached when George Bush gave in on his position that cancelled debt would come out of existing aid committments by the US. Of particular note, the World Bank will be fully reimbursed by G8 countries for the cost of the cancelled debt, so their ability to continue funding development won’t be compromised.

Some reactions:

“We are presenting the most comprehensive statement that finance ministers have ever made on the issues of debt, development, health and poverty,” said Britain’s Treasury chief Gordon Brown. The agreement represents a “new deal between the rich and poor of the world,” he said. (MSNBC)

“This is not a time for timidity, but a time for boldness, and not a time for settling for second best, but aiming high.” (Gordon Brown, as quoted in the LA Times)

“Tomorrow 280 million Africans will wake up for the first time in their lives without owing you or me a penny from the burden of debt that has crippled them and their countries for so long,” said Bob Geldof, the anti-poverty campaigner who organized the Live Aid rock concerts 20 years ago. (MSNBC)

The journey of equality took another step today, and broke free millions of people in some of the poorest countries from the bondage of immoral and unjust debts. The leadership of the jubilee campaigners is bearing fruit once more, we really owe those people, from church basements to national treasuries who have worked so long and so hard for this day. (Bono, from a statement by DATA)

Americans asked for leadership in canceling the poorest countries’ debts, and we got it from the Bush Administration: this agreement cancels the debts of 18 countries today and up to 38 countries in short order, and it frees up more than $1 billion in the first year and rising — for more schools, health clinics and farm-to-market roads. (Seth Amgott, from the DATA statement)

“We are really encouraged by this decision and want to thank the British government and all the countries involved in this agreement,” said the spokesman [for South African President Thabo Mbeki], Bhelo Khumalo. “It will go a long way to enriching the African continent.” (LA Times)

“This is a historic moment,” said John W. Snow, the United States Treasury secretary, one of the participants. “A real milestone has been reached.” (NY Times)

There is still much to be done. There are still many impoverished countries with crushing debts. Tony Blair is asking rich countries to double their foreign aid. Fair trade and ongoing medical assistance for HIV/AIDS are also critical for poor Africans. But this is a great step forward.

June 10, 2005

Slate Slams Brad, Diane and the Celebrity-Industrial Complex

Filed under: Random Stuff — Bob Gifford @ 9:10 am

Slate’s television critic Dana Stevens has a rather odd take on the Diane Sawyers interview of Brad Pitt on Tuesday’s Prime Time Live. She criticizes the show for both trying to inform its viewers on poverty in Africa, and pretending to inform its viewers about Brad and Jen and Brad and Angelina.

Throughout the hour-long interview, there wasn’t even a pretense of graceful segue from one mode to the next. Sawyer would simply pay her dues with a 10-minute segment filmed in Africa (in which she and Pitt were shown presiding over a gaggle of smiling schoolchildren or comforting a young woman dying of AIDS) and then turn to Pitt with a bald demand for payback: “OK, let me give it a try.”

So we all know the dance: Brad Pitt is contractually obligated to publicize his new movie by appearing in interviews; ABC knows that gossip about Pitt’s love life will boost ratings; Pitt knows this too, but also knows he’s not going to spill any beans; Diane Sawyer knows he won’t answer, but due to the aforementioned ratings factor is obligated to ask; even though Pitt says nothing of note, ABC markets the show by hinting that, just perhaps, some juicy gossip will be aired. Such is the state of popular media. We can argue that this circus is silly, but the enemy is us: if we didn’t tune in to catch celebrity gossip, Pitt and Sawyer wouldn’t be forced to go through this charade.

But the participants in this circus have some latitude. Sawyer has to ask the questions that Pitt will not answer, but Pitt decides to remind us that it’s really none of our business.

Every so often, he took a moment to point out, in essence, that anyone tuning in to the show to learn about his personal life was one sick puppy: “It’s a strange focus, isn’t it? That my relationships or relationship mishaps takes precedent over something like that [the situation in Africa] … I understand it’s about entertainment, but man, it’s misguided a bit, isn’t it?”

It only takes a few minutes for Sawyer to ask and Pitt to not answer the obligatory questions. So how to fill up more air time? Brad Pitt obviously wants to talk about poverty in Africa. Sawyer, her producers, and ABC apparently decided that Pitt and poverty in Africa make good television. They could have aired a 20 minute fluff piece, but instead give us an hour devoted to touching portraits of real Africans living in poverty, and Pitt’s obvious affection for them. It was an hour-long ad for the ONE Campaign, for DATA, for ending poverty in our lifetime. It was not only good TV, as in entertaining, but good TV, as in morally engaging.

Dana Stevens has a problem with this.

Memo to the celebrity-industrial complex, for whenever you hold your next top-secret cabal in a secure bunker beneath the “Hollywood” sign: It isn’t fair. You can’t brainwash us with the culture of celebrity, only to scold us for wanting the myth. You can’t have your publicity-machine cake—a tasty confection made entirely of money—and eat your moral righteousness too. If the studio wants to use every means necessary to hawk tickets to Mr. and Mrs. Smith, so be it. But I’ll take mine without the guilt, and worry about Africa on my own time.

Does Stevens really think she has been “brainwashed” against her better nature to want celebrity gossip? Has she really been victimized by Brad Pitt pointing out that obsession with his personal life is “misguided”? Is informing Americans about what can be done to reverse poverty in Africa only about “guilt”? And all this “isn’t fair”?

Like I said, a very odd reaction. Stevens apparently wants to revel in the Access Hollywood gutter of entertainment, and resents being reminded that there is a larger, less glamorous, world out there. And it’s not her fault, it’s the years of indoctrination by the media elite that’s to blame.

For those of us that haven’t been brainwashed, we could do without the intrusive personal questions and just hear about Piit’s activities in Africa. We don’t need titillating marketing promising celebrity dish, but an honest preview of one celebrity’s efforts to ameliorate poverty.

Dana – if you feel so guilty seeing poor Africans, there’s an easy solution: sign the ONE Declaration. And while you’re at it, maybe you should turn off the tv and get out in the real world a bit more.

June 7, 2005

The Good and Bad (But More Good) of Immigration

Filed under: Random Stuff — Bob Gifford @ 11:08 pm

Marcus at A Green Conservatism has a refreshingly clear-headed analysis of the immigration issue. Immigration gets demagogued to death by those on the right and the left, so it’s nice to see someone speak the truth:

A flood of cheap labor, a bit legal but way mostly illegal, is dragging down wages and making it possible for better placed rich folks to make a pile on the backs of people desperate enough to work at or below – sometimes way below – minimum wage without all those costly benefits.

So the winners from illegal immigration are US businesses that employ them, and the illegals and their families back home. The losers are the working poor in the US, whose wages and benefits are depressed by the high supply of low-end labor. As Marcus says:

Another way in which the GOP steals working class voters from the Dems because the Dems refuse to represent their perceived interests while a voluble wing of conservatism seduces them by talking the talk and making grand but intentionally impotent gestures.

Another way in which socio-cons posing as defenders of America’s cultural heritage (Anglophone eurowhites only, please) or of the interests of American workers suck the “Kansas” vote away from the Dems who, in this contest, appear to unshakably stand for the interests of the poor and the powerless and the downtrodden … of Mexico. Side by side with the likes of Pete DuPont.

I won’t steal Marcus’ thunder — go here to read his conclusion. But Marcus is correct when he says that progressives, me included, support higher levels of immigration, even though it suppresses the income of the working poor in the US. So how can a compassionate progressive, especially a progressive Christian, be in favor of this economic blow to the American worker?

It is because I am a Christian first, and an American second. The poor and desperate in Mexico are made in God’s image just as are Americans. Their lives are as important to God as American lives. As bad as it gets for the working poor in the US, it is much worse for the poor in Latin America. I can’t in good conscience advocate protecting the economic interests of the poor in the US at the cost of far worse poverty in Latin America.

But more to the point, when such dramatic economic benefits exist for immigrants working in the US, stopping the flow will take far more money than it’s worth. When a Mexican family is facing starvation, they will find a way to enter the US, and it’s foolish to try to stop them. But we can improve our national security by legalizing immigration under a guest worker program, and at a far lower cost.

Meanwhile, there are several very sound policies that should be enacted in the US to help our working poor, such as expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit and raising the minimum wage. But trying to stop immigration is not one of them.


Marcus de A Green Conservatism tiene un análisis de forma alentador y claro de la cuestión de la inmigración. La inmigración consigue ser discutido por demagogos a la derecha y la izquierda, así que es agradable que alguien dice la verdad:

Una inundación del trabajadores barato, un pedacito legal pero sobre todo ilegal, está arrastrando abajo de salarios y está permitiendo para que una gente rica colocada mejor gana mucho dinero en las partes posterioras de la gente bastante desesperada al trabajar en o abajo – a veces mucho abajo – salario mínimo sin todas esas beneficios costosos.

Los ganadores de la inmigración ilegal son los negocios de los E.E.U.U. que los emplean, y los illegals y sus familias atrás a casa. Los perdedores son los trabajadores pobres en los E.E.U.U., que salarios y beneficios son presionados por la fuente grande de trabajadores del costo bajo. Como Marcus dice:

Otra manera de la cual el GOP roba a votantes de la clase obrera del Dems porque los Dems rehusan para representar sus intereses percibidos mientras que un ala voluble del conservadurismo los seduce hablando la charla y haciéndola los gestos magníficos pero intencionalmente impotentes.

Otra manera en la cual “socio-conservativos” que se presenta mientras que los defensores del patrimonio cultural de América (euroblancos anglófonos solamente, por favor) o de los intereses de los trabajadores americanos aspiran el voto de “Kansas” lejos del Dems que, en esta competencia, aparecen estar parados firmemente para los intereses de los pobres y del impotente y del pisoteado… de México. De lado a lado con los como Pete DuPont.

No robaré el trueno de Marcus — vaya aquí a leer su conclusión (en inglés solamente). Pero Marcus está correcto cuando él dice que los progresistas, yo incluido, soportan niveles más altos de la inmigración, aunque suprime la renta de los trabajadores pobres en los E.E.U.U. ¿Tan cómo puede un progresista compasivo, especialmente un cristiano progresivo, estar en favor de este golpe económico al trabajador americano?

Es porque soy un cristiano primero, y un americano segundo. El pobres y el desesperados en México son creados en la imagen del Dios apenas tanto que americanos. Sus vidas son tan importantes para el Dios como vidas americanas. Tan malo como consigue para los trabajadores pobres en los E.E.U.U., es mucho más peor para los pobres en América latina. No puedo proteger en buena conciencia los intereses económicos de los pobres en los E.E.U.U. en el coste de pobreza muy peor en América latina.

Pero más al punto, cuando tales ventajas económicas dramáticas existen para los inmigrantes que trabajan en los E.E.U.U., parando el flujo tomará mucho más dinero que es valor. Cuando una familia mexicana esta muriendo de hambre, ella encontrará una manera de entrar en los E.E.U.U., y es absurdo intentar pararlos. Pero podemos mejorar nuestra seguridad nacional legalizando la inmigración bajo programa del trabajador de huésped, y en un costo más bajo.

Mientras tanto, hay varias políticas legítimas mismas que se deben decretar en los E.E.U.U. para ayudar a nuestros trabajadores pobres, tales como ampliar el crédito ganado del impuesto sobre la renta y levantar el salario mínimo. Pero el intentar parar la inmigración no es una de ellas.


Thanks to Babel Fish for translation assistance; all errors are mine.

Gracias a Babel Fish por su ayuda con la traducción; cualquier errores son míos.

A Letter From My Friend Brad

Filed under: Random Stuff — Bob Gifford @ 8:29 am

I received an email from my good friend Brad Pitt:

Dear Friend,

Sawyer and PittEvery single day 30,000 children die from the effects of extreme poverty and it almost never makes the news. Tonight, that’s going to be different.

I visited Africa last month with Diane Sawyer to record a “Primetime Live” special, and tonight that program will air at 10pm/9pm Central on ABC. The show is not only about the emergency in Africa, but also about successful projects that are saving people’s lives and building new hope in entire communities.

Yesterday the ONE campaign asked all of us to do something that will make a real difference for the people we met in Africa: sign a letter to President Bush asking him to seize the best opportunity we’ve had in decades to actually end extreme poverty. The ONE letter asks the President to support three bold commitments at the G8 summit of world leaders on July 6th: more and better international assistance, debt cancellation and trade reform.

Last week I signed the ONE letter to President Bush, and since yesterday thousands of you have too. That is an amazing show of support. The ONE campaign has set a goal to get ONE million letter signatures by the upcoming G8 summit on July 6th. We can get half way there by the end of this week if you join with me and sign the ONE letter to President Bush and ask your friends and family to sign as well:

Sign the ONE letter to President Bush.

Thanks, and please tell all your friends to watch the show tonight: 10pm/9pm Central on ABC.

Brad Pitt

June 5, 2005

Ted Haggard Invents a Religion

Filed under: Random Stuff — Bob Gifford @ 9:58 pm

If you haven’t read this article on the New Life Church in Harper’s yet, I recommend a full read, along with this companion piece on the National Religious Broadcasters convention. New Life is a mega-church in Colorado Springs run by Ted Haggard, who is also President of the National Association of Evangelicals.

I have always accepted that conservative evangelicals share with me a Protestant Christian faith, but I’m beginning to rethink this assumption. Some of the beliefs Jeff Sharlet, who also writes for The Revealer, reports in his article sound like a new and different religion with which I’m not familiar. Here’s what I mean.

“They’re pro-free markets, they’re pro-private property,” [Haggard] said. “That’s what evangelical stands for.”

I don’t see anything in the New Testament that countermands private property, but it certainly wasn’t a defining belief for the early church.

All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. Acts 2:44-45

(more…)

June 3, 2005

Dobson and Power

Filed under: Random Stuff — Bob Gifford @ 10:47 pm

I realize this is old news, but I just read James Dobson’s press release from May 23rd following the compromise among moderate Senators on the judicial filibuster. Dobson says in part:

We share the disappointment, outrage and sense of abandonment felt by millions of conservative Americans who helped put Republicans in power last November. I am certain that these voters will remember both Democrats and Republicans who betrayed their trust. [emphasis mine]

First, the line about conservative voters remembering “both Democrats and Republicans” is pretty silly. I would bet the only Dobson supporters that voted for Democrats in November did so by accident.

Second, I’m struck by how much of Dobson’s view of the world revolves around power. I suppose George Lakoff would say that it’s part of the strict father frame, but it seems more descriptive to say that Dobson’s religious worldview is based upon power, who should have it, and who shouldn’t.

In Dobson’s view, parents should have power over children, husbands over wives, civil and religious authorities over the rest of us, and God over everyone. And because he believes his followers swung the election for Bush, he thinks he should have power over Bush.

This hierarchical view of power and authority has a long pedigree in Christianity, starting with the Roman Catholic Church. Even Martin Luther taught that men should have complete authority over their household, and that all should submit to the civil authorities. But Luther also wrote about the priesthood of all believers, a radical concept that did away with the ecclesiastical hierarchy of priests as necessary intercessors between us and God. These teachings led the leaders of the Peasants’ War to expect Luther’s support. Instead, he ultimately opposed them, leading to a bloody end to the rebellion.

It seems these two strains have continued in Protestantism ever since: the submission to earthly power as a reflection of God’s divine power versus the congregationalist, communitarian eschewing of all earthly power in submission solely to God’s divine power. Today it seems that conservative Christians embrace the former, especially with Republicans in charge of two out of three branches of government. (It’s funny that they didn’t hold to this view when Clinton was President.) Since Dobson believes earthly power comes from God, and is delegated by God to his appointed rulers, he thinks he’s been given some and is now supposed to be calling the shots. He seems to be a little perturbed that it’s not working out that way. Political power in a democracy is a very perishable commodity, and Dobson’s power seems to have slipped away before he’s been able to exercise it.

I would hope progressive Christians don’t fall into this trap. Earthly power is granted by God, except when it’s not, and it’s not clear at any point which is the case. Instead of pursuing political power, even for moral ends, I would rather speak truth to power, regardless of who possesses it. I’d rather abide by the words of Jesus: “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. It will not be so among you; but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be your slave; just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”

June 1, 2005

Freedom of (Mainstream) Religion

Filed under: Random Stuff — Bob Gifford @ 7:54 pm

Thank God this Indiana judge is protecting children from non-mainstream religious beliefs.

A Wiccan activist and his ex-wife are challenging a court’s order that they must protect their 9-year-old son from what it calls their “non-mainstream religious beliefs and rituals.”

A court commissioner wrote the unusual order after a routine report by the court’s Domestic Relations Counseling Bureau noted that both Jones and his ex-wife are pagans who send their son, Archer, to a Catholic elementary school.

In the order, the parents were “directed to take such steps as are needed to shelter Archer from involvement and observation of these non-mainstream religious beliefs and rituals.” The judge let the wording stand.

This court understands that the infinite wisdom of the founding fathers was to protect our freedom to practice mainstream religion. They never intended to protect such freedom for adults raising their children in some non-mainstream religion like Wicca. Or raising them as Calvinists, Quakers, Methodists, Anabaptists, or Pentecostalists, all of which were very non-mainstream at one time or another.

(Speaking of out-of-the-mainstream, “Archer”? Why didn’t the judge make them change the poor kid’s first name to something mainstream like, say, “Bob”?)

The craziness here is that mainstream religions don’t need to be protected, only those outside the mainstream. The guarantee of freedom of speech is to protect speech we find abhorrent, and so too, freedom of religion is meaningless if it doesn’t apply to religions we don’t like or find strange or are “out of the mainstream”.

Barry Lynn of Americans United for Separation of Church and State said “This is an absurd result, because in the eyes of the law being a pagan should be no different from being a Presbyterian.” Yep, its as bad as being one of those wacky Presbyterians!

(Caution: this post contains elements of sarcasm that may be inappropriate for younger viewers.)

The Story of a Gay Christian

Filed under: Random Stuff — Bob Gifford @ 6:53 pm

I have said before that an important step in understanding God’s acceptance of gays is to hear their personal stories. David Rattigan, blogger at Grace Pages, is telling his story in a second blog, The (Will and) Grace Pages. I encourage you to forget any preconceptions you have about gays, Christianity, and gay Christians, and read his story.

I was outspoken against homosexuality, although I was never conscious of doing it to disguise my own struggles. As a Methodist at the age of eleven or twelve, I had heard my Mom talking to someone about the gay debate in churches, and I took the opportunity to find out what I was supposed to think about my feelings.

“Oh, is that bad, is it?” I asked Mom.
“Yes,” she replied. “The Bible says it’s wrong.”

From then on, I “knew” my feelings were wrong and never to be acted upon…

On my own, however, I would entertain fantasies about the same boys to whom I had been witnessing. My adolescence was an endless cycle of temptation, indulgence, guilt and confession.

Listening to gays, it becomes clear that no one chooses to be gay (or straight, for that matter), that homosexuality isn’t something to be “cured”, and that God accepts gays as they are. Why can’t we?

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