Archive for September, 2008

h1

Hey Hatas! It’s Time to Walk the Talk

September 27, 2008

It’s time for the rubber to meet the road, and I’m not talking about fucking in the streets.  I have run into too many christians spouting off homophobic comments, writing anti-gay blog entries, that, when confronted, employ less than honorable journalistic skills and hide behind the common refrain “God said it in the Bible, I didn’t.  If you don’t like it, take it up with God.” 

So, homophobes, bigots, hypocrites, family values supporters, christians, and evangelicals/fundamentalists, take note:  it’s time to put up or shut up.  You need to find some ethical standards if you’re going to participate in the blogging world, and you need to be consistent about your beliefs.  In addition, you need to support your beliefs with scripture as well as demonstrate that you know some reliable facts before you form an opinion and put it out there for all the world to see.

Let’s take another look at the American Family Association’s boycott of McDonald’s.  I recently hit the tag surfer button here on my wordpress dashboard and ran across a young man who enjoys blogging about conservative issues.  Jermy Buffo seems to think that McDonald’s was acting improperly when it did two things:  requested a group discount for sending at least 15 employees to a training session known as the “Out and Equal 2008 Workplace Summit”  and donated $20,000 to the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.  Bluffer then made some outrageous replies to comments at his blog, and employed some questionable practices while doing so. 

I confronted Mr. Fluffer with some hard evidence about his claims.  Claim #1 was that McDonald’s had suffered a huge financial blow because of the AFA’s boycott.  I provided a link to Yahoo’s stock reports which showed McDonald’s stock values had steadily increased since start of the boycott. I think most people would agree that this would indicate that the boycott is having no effect whatsoever.  Claim #2 was that McDonald’s was pushing the gay agenda above and beyond anything else.  I did the math for this guy, and showed him how McDonald’s gave a total of $30,462.50 for joining the NGLCC and attending the Equal and Out Conference.  Then I quoted from McDonald’s own website that shows they have donated $460 million in grant money over and above their corporate support of Ronald McDonald House Charities. 

The really disturbing stuff comes in how Boffo handles the comments.  One of my replies was totally deleted, which caused me to start making screen captures of my posts that were awaiting moderation.  At one point, Jerkmy accuses me of calling his writing “crap.”   I searched my replies and finally discovered that I had quoted another comment by a guy named Andrew.  Andrew had called the writing crap.  Now, remember, Jeremy claims he doesn’t delete any of the comments, however, when I posted the correction that Andrew had made the comment, not me, that particular post never made it to the blog. 

It’s just a bit of creative editing that allowed Mr. Bluffo, the right-wing, conservative, anti-gay blogger to accuse me of lying without ever having to admit to his own error.  So what have we learned from the religious right?  Make accusations, and never admit that you were wrong. 

Now let’s take a look at a woman who represents God, although I’m not sure if this is a self-proclaimed title or an actual endorsement from the Almighty.  I’m not sure who represents the licensing in this case.  Here’s a link to Janelinda, but let me warn you, the woman has no taste.  The font size, colors, and site theme more than clash, it hurts the eyes.  Janelinda caught my eye while tag surfing a few days ago. 

Here’s the exchange that got things rolling:

janelinda said: The truth is that Paul’s writings are clear that homosexuality is a sin rewarded by death. If the state won’t do it, the church will.

keltic said:  wow, it sounds like you’d like to kill all the gay people. as a matter of fact, it sounds like you’re threatening to do just that. will you pick up the first stone?

Now, I don’t put this out there to brag, but I know my way around the Bible.  I know which books are Old Testament and which are New Testament, I know the major themes, and I even hold a minor in religious studies.  I know that the verse to which this woman refers to does not have a death penalty attached to it.  I also know that Jesus silenced a group of hypocrites by saying “let he who is without sin cast the first stone” as a way of teaching that humans can not make that kind of judgment against each other.   Yet, here is a woman who is perfectly willing to make that kind of statement, and proclaim it loudly as her duty to God. 

Again, the deceit and unethical tactics commence.  Janelinda began using my comments as material for her blog entries, yet she would let my comments sit “awaiting moderation” for days on end. 

Another favorite tactic of the screeching fundamentalists:  when confronted, fling a little mud.  Case in point:  in reply to my question about why christians are concerned so much with homosexuality and less about divorce, in light of the fact that Jesus said nothing about the former and plenty about the latter, I got a response about pedophilia. 

Yes, Jesus was silent on the subject of homosexuality even as he was silent about molesting children.

I gave her the statistics that prove children are in more danger from straight people, but she chooses not to be confused by facts. 

Once again, I had to request that the owner of the blog post all of my comments, not just those they wanted their readers to see.  One comment has been lost completely, after which I began performing screen captures.  This particular blogger decided that my comments could go unpublished, but that she would use them as a starting point for ever more shrill homophobic posts.  A request to allow my posts to be made public was met with a disclaimer at the beginning of another blog entry about how nasty “teh gays” are. 

Now I am engaged in what can best be described as talking at each other, I certainly wouldn’t call it a dialog.  Ms. Jadedliah seems to think I don’t have an understanding of the Bible.  Notice how she ignores my questions about other laws or rules that are clearly stated in scripture.  She so cleverly turns that around to say that she doesn’t need to explain the law to me.  Of course she doesn’t!  I already understand the law, but I also understand that no one can ever fulfill the law.  I know that every time a fundie trots out a scripture with the intent to beat a homosexual into submission, they are ignoring all the words around it that condemn them 20 times more than God’s word condemns gays and lesbians.  Miss Jane claims to be a minister, called to preach God’s unchanging word.  So when asked about a few scriptures that imply women should never take on that role, she pulls a few more out of context to support her case. 

You will not move from what God has said in the Bible? that is excellent news!
1 Corinthians 14:34 Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law.

as well as 1 Timothy 2:12-14 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.

So you are condemned by your own words. “I was called to ministry. I didn’t decide this myself. I was called when a child to preach the gospel.”

To whom do you preach? Only other women? You have been instructed by God’s Holy Word to keep silent. why is it that you, by your own admission, disobey God’s commandments?

I admit to playing devil’s advocate in this exchange.  I believe women have a rightful place in ministry.  I’m just baffled by a woman who can ignore clear scriptures about her own position within the church, then turn around and issue condemning decrees about gays and lesbians with those same scriptures.

So here is my request, Mr. Fluffer, Ms. Janelicka, and all you other hate-filled (love the sinner, hate the sin) types of christians/ fundies/ evangelicals/  right-wingnuts/ conservatives/ homophobes.  Do us all a favor and start living your lives in a more consistent fashion.  When you write an offensively homophobic blog entry, have the balls to go exactly where you intend it to go. 

For instance, if you want to use Leviticus as your basis for hating on the gays, you’ve got to be willing to kill us.  The scripture is clear.  It doesn’t say that the government has that responsibility, it doesn’t assign that duty to some church committee, it is entirely up to God’s people to stand up and do the right thing:  Kill those Faggots! 

If you’re going to skip lunch at McDonald’s because they gave a few nickels to a gay & lesbian organization, you’ve got to hold fast to that commitment.  Now, go out and find all the other businesses that support homosexuals and boycott them as well.  Need some help?  Here’s a list:  Burger King, Pepsico, Frito Lay, Wells Fargo, Kodak, Levi’s, Pacific Gas & Electric Co (Californian’s united for Hate, turn off those lights!), Motorola, American Express, Shop n Save, Cub Foods, Blue Cross of California, Comcast, Capitol One, Coors Light, AT&T, Marriott, Ramada, Hilton, Southwest Airlines, Johnson & Johnson, UPS.  Have we hit you where you live yet?  You, homophobes calling for boycotts and screaming that granting civil rights to gay and lesbian people is giving them special rights, need to walk the talk!  Stop giving your hard-earned straight dollars to all these companies that are pushing the gay agenda!  Do it now!  I mean it. 

Stop listening to music created by gay people.  That means you’ll have to give up all your Judas Priest albums (Rob Halford is gay), no more Clay Aiken, Johnny Mathis, or Barry Manilow.  No Stephen Sondheim, Elton John, or K D Lang.  How’d you like Ray Boltz’s music back in the day?  Surprise, he just came out too.  Is the music minister at your church a male?  He may be deeply closeted, but he’s most likely gay.  Don’t sing along until you can have him fired and replaced by your 85 year old aunt Stella.  Into classical?  Change the station when Aaron Copland hits the airwaves, or Samuel Barber, or even Tchaikovsky.  Don’t even think of going to the theater for a Broadway show;  you’ll find more gays than you can shake a stick at, whether you’re into shaking sticks or not! 

Need some more help?  Go buy a gay magazine like Out, or Advocate, or Instinct.  Don’t worry about reading any of the articles, just make a list of the companies who advertise in the magazines.  Then, keep that list handy whenever you need to make a purchasing decision.  You’ll need to avoid Tylenol products, Avis car rentals, premium movie channels, all the major clothing designers, and most travel destinations. 

But why stop there?  Let’s bring the hate a little closer to home.  Who does your hair?  Have you been going to that gay man for your latest hairstyle?  Stop it!  What’s your favorite restaurant?  Make sure that chef with the short hair isn’t a butch lesbian.  Got a car that needs maintenance?  Be sure to ask the mechanic if he’s ever had a cock in his mouth.  And for God’s sake, don’t go to the garage that has a woman working on cars.  Does the coffee shop employ androgynous baristas?  Go get your morning java at the convenience store. 

You think that “millions and millions” of Americans want to recognize marriage as being one man and one woman?  That’s great, a little hyperbolic, but great.  If it’s as you say it is, then there should be no problems finding businesses, large and small, that will assist you in your boycott of all things gay.  Think globally, act locally.  Hate universally.

I have one small favor to ask.  Could you email me and let me know what time you intend to be here to stone me?  I’d hate to be late for my own funeral.

Advertisements
h1

Part 3: The Toast

September 16, 2008

WE are proud of our daughter/stepdaughter.  We asked Stormie to perform the duties of toastmaster at our wedding because she knows us better than anyone else does, and she is the eldest child.  Age does bring privilege as well as responsibility; our request of her demonstrates both. 

Noted:  Stormie took her own sweet time setting up for the toast.  She walked across the dance floor to get the music stand to hold her notes.  She fumbled with her glasses.  She looked around the room and took a deep breath.  This is what we heard:

 

Are you ready?
 
First of all, I want to say what a huge honor this is. Daddy sent me a text Wednesday morning to check my e-mail for a “special request.” I was working at the library, thinking it was a link to a gift or something like that. When I checked, it was actually a link to “How to Write a Great Wedding Toast.” I cried immediately, partially overwhelmed and partially thrilled. So… I hope I was the best choice.
 
SCOTT, right before I first met you, I was so excited. I think Daddy could tell, and he said, “He’s not used to teenage girls, and he may be shy.” You were, but I was ready to get to know you. I knew I liked you as soon as you thought I was funny. It didn’t take long for us to bond over our orneriness and ability to irritate Daddy. Now, we take turns teasing each other, telling dirty jokes, and talking about how much trouble you’ll be in once I’m not around. Scott, I’m happy to say welcome to the family. It’s been easy to let you in our life, and it only gets better with the Clarks. I love you, and I hope my hugs will always make you feel better.
 
DADDY, when anyone asks about you and me, I use my favorite response: “I am my Father’s daughter.” So, to see you happy makes me happy. We had a conversation last Spring about leaving your comfort zone and giving out what you want in return. You’re proof that it works. I’d like to think you know exactly how I feel about you two, but just in case you don’t, there’s never been a question in my mind that you’re made for each other. Thank you for everything you’ve done for us. You’ve made my life more interesting by being a part of yours. I love you.
 
Daddy 1 and Daddy 2, congratulations, and I wish you nothing but the best. I love you both.
 
Life is a journey, not a destination. Here’s to making the journey together.
 
SLAINTÉ

Stormie giving the toast

Stormie giving the toast

 

As mentioned elsewhere in this blog, there were very few that could listen to that, knowing even part of our story, and not shed a tear.  I heard reports of full-blown crying.  I know I had tears just gushing from my eyes. 

Everything she said is true.  Stormie was nervous about meeting Scott, they hit it off well, and now, they are partners in teasing me, almost relentlessly.  Stormie and I both have had our share of problems, none that we’d be in a hurry to repeat.  We’ve both done our homework and find ourselves in a healthy place, each of us cheering the other on.  She is her father’s daughter, and sometimes it hurts to see ourselves in the other, though most of the time, it’s great to see a loving reflection.  Stormie gets that Scott and I are not only good for each other, but that there’s a deep connection that might not show on the surface.  Anam Cara: I am his, and he is mine. 

There’s no question that our children’s lives became more interesting when we came out to them.  Surprisingly, they’ve suffered very few incidents of bullying or taunting because of us.  I’m sure this is an indication that the younger generation is less concerned about who’s gay and who’s straight.  They have met people, gone places, and seen things that they might never have encountered had Scott and I remained closeted.  Their lives are richer because of it.  I can hear it in their conversations, and I can see it in the smiles on their faces.  Our confidence in ourselves overflows to the kids.  Daddy 1 and Daddy 2 (thank you, Sawyer, for the new names) are on a journey together that includes getting our children moving on their own journeys.  It’s exciting to see where we all might go next.

h1

Perfect Wedding Part 2

September 13, 2008

I left you hanging at the end of the ceremony, as if that was all there was to the wedding.  There is much more.  It just seemed like too much to put into one post.  I’ll warn you now.  It’s very likely that there will be two more posts about the wedding.  So, it’s time to party!

The celebration continued with hors d’oeuvres and cocktails.  We greeted our guests, got our drinks and posed for some pictures.  Before long, it was time for the meal, which started with a blessing from our minister, followed by the most incredible toast offered by my daughter, Stormie.  I know I blew her mind when I asked her to give the toast, but I explained that she is the one who knows our relationship better than anyone else, and as the eldest child of the seven in the blended family, it simply made sense that she receive that honor. 

Stormie’s toast is worthy of a separate blog entry.  What stands out for me is the way in which she affirmed the welcome of Scott into our family, then spoke of the lessons of love she has learned from us.  For instance, I believe that one can not receive emotionally what one is not willing to give:  you want love?  you’ve got to give it.  A particularly moving part of her toast was when she identified with me saying “I am my father’s daughter.”  How well I know this.  It has given us an incredible emotional intimacy, while also creating some tension as we confront in each other, the things we don’t like about ourselves.  If you think this would make for a teary-eyed moment at the wedding, you’re right.  I couldn’t see most of the people around me, but word has it that there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. 

Fabulous dinner was served, and Scott and I made the rounds to each table to chat with our guests.  We were honored to hear such glowing compliments about our ceremony, our selection of music, our table settings, and even the choice of the venue.  The wedding cake was so elegant with blue-green ombre ribbon around each square layer and the hydrangea to separate them.  Our pictures topped the cake.  It looks like Scott smeared the cake as we fed each other, and yeah, he did a little, but not enough that I would be wearing cake all evening.

I was feeling a bit self-conscious about the first dance as a married couple.  I had so wanted to get dance lessons, but time and money prevented us from getting into a dance class.  We took to the floor and danced to “Someone Like You” from Jekyll and Hyde.  The lights were dimmed and once again Scott and I were in our own world, chatting, laughing, and moving effortlessly around the floor.  I don’t remember fighting each other to lead, or for which direction to go next.  I don’t even remember what I said that had Scott laughing, but it produced one of my favorite pictures of the evening. 

When our dance was done, we invited our guests to join us on the dance floor.  We chose “At Last” by Etta James.  It certainly sums up our feelings about find each other.

At last, my love has come along
My lonely days are over
And life is like a song
Oh, yeah, at last
The skies above are blue
My heart was wrapped up in clovers
The night I looked at you
I found a dream that I could speak to
A dream that I can call my own
I found a thrill to rest my cheek to
A thrill that I have never known
Oh, yeah when you smile, you smile
Oh, and then the spell was cast
And here we are in heaven
For you are mine
At last

Then it was time to party!  Shirley Bassey does a great cover of “Get the Party Started” and as the first mysterious strains began it evoked a masculine James Bond image.  The grooms, in their tuxes, coaxed the rest of the guests to the dance floor.  When the beat kicked in, the party took off and never stopped until it was time to pack up and go home.

Now, what do 2 grooms do about the traditions associated with a wedding?  We change them!  We make them our own.  No one carried a bouquet and no one wore a garter.  We had nothing to toss.  That didn’t stop us though.  We bought 2 pair of boxers, rolled them tight and tied them with a ribbon.  We then had the DJ invite all the women to the dance floor, not just the single women, but all the women.  The single women are usually embarassed to go out for the bouquet, and the married women resent not being eligible.  We took care of that by not discriminating.  Scott tossed the first pair of boxers.  We did the same for all the men, and I tossed the second pair to them.  We rewarded the winners with a bottle of homemade wine and a cd of music that included songs played at the wedding as well as some of our favorite club remixes. 

 

We danced the night away with our friends and family.  We filled that room with love.  And now, weeks later, we still hear how much fun our guests had, and Scott and I feel the effects of having those closest to us affirm our marriage with their presence.

note:  there’s more to come:  a unique twist to the honeymoon!

h1

The Perfect Wedding

September 3, 2008

The ceremony finished with one of our ministers introducing us as a couple…partners for life.  That one phrase marked the beginning of our life together as husband, and well, husband.  Three weeks later, we find that we are still learning to say “husband” instead of boyfriend, or partner.  We even use our new term for our relationship and giggle, just like most newlyweds. 

Our wedding day started with a list of jobs to be accomplished.  Our music room was stacked with boxes full of decorations that would grace the tables, the favors, the candles, and the placecards.  We would be hauling all of this and my digital piano, the music stand and more to the restaurant.  We kept breakfast light, and went about the business of the day.  I cut the flowers from our gardens and arranged them in the vases purchased just for our wedding.  By 10:00am, we were loading the van and heading to the venue. 

At the restaurant, the tables were set and ready for us to place the centerpieces.  There were many helpers, so the job went quickly.  Everything was completed, including the set up of the sound system, the communion table, the guest book and place-cards within 90 minutes.  We couldn’t believe that it had gone so smoothly and so quickly.  There was nothing left for us to do but return home for a light lunch, then prepare for the ceremony that began at 6:00pm. 

This is where our day begins to blossom.  I make a light lunch for Scott, our guest Daniel, and myself.  We chat a little, then decide to relax outside in the warm sun.  We find that we have time to soak up the sun’s rays, and even nap a little.  The time just seems to slow down for us.  All of the jobs are accomplished and it’s still not time to prepare ourselves for the wedding.  I thought the wedding day was to be a mad rush, a whirlwind of activity, and here we are napping and sunbathing! 

Eventually, as in 2:30pm, our children start arriving.  We’ve chosen to dress 5 of the 7 kids at our house, keeping their new wedding clothes with us until this day, for reasons that other divorced folks might understand.  The older 2 kids are able to take care of themselves for this task.  It seems that by 3:30, we’ve got 5 boys, 10-18, showered and dressed.  Let’s take some photographs.  We’ve got more than enough cameras, digital, disposable, and even an old Nikon SLR.  We take pictures in the music room in front of the fireplace and in every conceivable combination of dads with kids, dads with stepkids, and of course, the grooms.  There’s still plenty of time remaining, so we head out the front door for a family portrait that includes both grooms, all seven of their children, and a girlfriend of a son. We head out back to use the backdrop of sunflowers and cellphone cameras are used to share these early wedding pictures. 

The New, Blended, & Gay Family

The New, Blended, & Gay Family

And we still have time to sit down and have a glass of wine at the dining room table. 

By 5:00pm, we start thinking about heading to the wedding.  This is about the point where time decides to speed up.  We arrive before 5:30 to discover that many of our guests are either anxious, or unable to read.  The 15-20 minutes we thought we had to organize, and perhaps take a few more pictures was lost to attending to those last minute details and playing hosts to our guests.  Before we realized it, it was time to begin the prelude music and start the festivities. 

I could write an entire article on the music for our ceremony.  The musicians were incredible.  I asked Jim, our pianist to play something to get the music started, then Daniel took the floor to sing “Red is the Rose”.  I moved to the piano to accompany Stormie on her French Horn for the Beethoven Adagio Cantabile that I had transcribed a few weeks earlier.  Daniel sang again with a show tune, “Will You” and Sterling followed with “Dream a Little Dream of Me” singing and playing his guitar.  Finally, Daniel finished up with “Not a Day Goes By” which was perfect for describing how we feel about each other:

….As the days go by, I keep thinking when does it end,

that it can’t get much better much longer,

but it only gets better and stronger

and deeper and nearer and simpler and freer

and richer and clearer, and no,

not a day goes by…….

the vows

the vows

At that point, Pastors Tracy& Janet, Scott and I moved to our places near the communion table and we began our ceremony.  We kept things simple, a brief invocation, two scriptures, our vows, the exchange of rings.  There were some unique features to our rites, like the Loving Cup, and a Druidic vow of unity.  We asked that communion be one of the first things we do as a couple, and in a very moving part of our service, Scott and I served our guests communion.  It was all I could do to keep from crying. 

Loving Cup

Loving Cup

More than the parts of the service, was the way in which Scott and I seemed to be in a world all our own.  After the invocation, we joined hands and locked in on each other with a gaze that none could distract.  In the weeks leading to the wedding, I could barely watch our video, or read through our vows without breaking into tears.  At the rehearsal, I could hardly say the words without my voice breaking with emotion.  Yet something mystical, perhaps magical, and very assuring took over.  I was able to speak out my vows loud and clear, and give that strength to Scott as his voice wavered with the emotion brought on by the love we felt at that moment.  We held each others’ hands and slipped the rings on each finger.  We picked up our Loving Cup and spoke the ancient words that would bind us as each other’s anam cara.  We briefly allowed our friends and family to enter our world as we served communion.  Then we turned to each other once more to make one more vow of unity in the Druidic tradition.

 

Mark, O Spirit, and hear us now

Mark, O Spirit, and hear us now

 

We swear by peace and love to stand

Heart to heart and hand in hand

Mark, O Spirit, and hear us now,

Confirming this our sacred vow.