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An article appeared today on the AP on a Denver Evangelical church which has opened its doors with full acceptance to gays.
The very well written article confirms a number of my beliefs about gays in the mainstream society, as well as vast changes in the Evangelical community. I will also add, for your amusement and comments, a number of propositions that I have put forth on this site, which normally gets me hide rated, but, hey, let's have some fun.

An Evangelical church in Denver "opens doors fully to gays" according to an AP article at
http://www.google.com/...
Highlands is a "hip" (for a square town like Denver) gentrified neighborhood that probably votes 75% or more Democratic. The article starts:

Then the 55-year-old pastor with spiked gray hair and blue jeans launches into his weekly welcome, a poem-like litany that includes the line "queer or straight here, there's no hate here."

The Rev. Mark Tidd initially used the word "gay." But he changed it to "queer" because it's the preferred term of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people invited to participate fully at Highlands Church.

This follows a number of observations I have made over the last few years.

  1. I have known a number of Evangelicals who are very religious Christians. Some of them were sick and tired of the single message anti-gay tirade of the Republican Party. They resent how they have been played for years by the antiabortion / anti-gay stance of the party that wages war and ceaselessly works for the welfare of the rich, while fighting every social initiative for the poor. They voted for Obama. Evangelicals are not all Sarah Palin.

"Highlands Church represents a breakout position, where you have a gay-affirming stance that moves beyond the traditional kind of liberal-conservative divide," said Mark Achtemeier, an associate professor at University of Dubuque Theological Seminary, which is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). "I'm finding lots of moderate conservatives just think there's something wrong with a default position of excluding gays from the life of the church."

  1. Our society is changing. The arrow of time points to continued acceptance and end of stigmatization of gays by a large majority of our society. This is a generational trend and IMHO will not change to a more conservative attitude. The younger generations don't care about being gay or straight, in the same way they don't care about interracial marriage.

The controversial part:

  1. OMG! The Reverend used the word "queer." I hope he is inundated with teary-eyed mail from the community that believes that gay people are exactly the same as straight people except that they don't fill every possible niche of behavior like straight people, and unlike every other group in the world, have no culture, don't like to hang with each other, or behave like every other group, whether it is ethnic, sexual, religious, political or the local Lionel train collector's club, with their own vernacular and style. To me, that's the most anti-gay attitude there is. If you wanna be "queer," be queer, that's your fundamental human right to happiness and self-expression, and I support it. Please don't waste my time that this PC attitude is not a prevalent one on this site.
  1. I am completely against hate crime legislation of all types, for numerous reasons beyond the scope of this diary. It sure was easy to throw the gay community the symbolic Matthew Shepard Act. But when it comes to the tough stuff that actually grants real civil rights to those that are being denied, like DOMA and DADT, to name just a few, there has been a total lack of political courage. In fact, I am willing to say that most "queers" have had to muster more courage to come out of the closet and face this society, with its legal discrimination, than all those big Senators and politicians who don't have the guts to grant the most fundamental Constitutional and Human rights to groups that have given them their continuous support.

Originally posted to shmuelman on Sun Dec 20, 2009 at 10:51 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (9+ / 0-)

    "How I hate those who are dedicated to producing conformity." William S Burroughs

    by shmuelman on Sun Dec 20, 2009 at 10:51:06 AM PST

  •  Hate Crimes (8+ / 0-)

    Most people who oppose hate crimes legislation don't understand what they're about.  (I blame the proponents who fail to explain the purpose of the legislation beyond the emotional appeal.)  I used to oppose them myself, thinking of them as attempts at policing thoughts and speech.  I was wrong.

    A hate crime is essentially an act of terrorism.  What the legislation does is to recognize this.  Think about it.  If someone lynches someone for their race, orientation, or whatever, they are doing more than murder that person.  They are sending a clear signal that they are willing to do it to everyone else, terrorizing them.  It's a form of psychic assault, and it should be punished.  People have a right to live without fear of being brutalized for who they are.

    •  It's about MOTIVE (4+ / 0-)

      Motive is always a factor in a physical crime. Motive is always considered in sentencing.

      Why should hate crimes be any different? Because some people claim Jesus told them to kill gays?

      •  Motive can be both an aggravating (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ray Radlein

        and a qualifying or, naturally, a privileging factor.

        THat question should be inverted: Why should we not consider motive as a circumstance which changes the incrimination? To give a banal example, why should a mery killing (basically, euthanasia) be considered like any other murder? Which motive is relevant for which crime, of course, is a matter of crime policy.

        Iuris praecepta sunt haec: Honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere. - Ulpian, Digestae 1, 3

        by Dauphin on Sun Dec 20, 2009 at 11:15:41 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I disagree for any number of reasons (0+ / 0-)

      beyond the scope of this diary, especially because of the way hate crimes are applied. I can't imagine that anything but a tiny fraction of so-called hate crimes are actually political statements meant to terrorize a group, and why any crime against anyone isn't a larger crime against the body politic. I think the laws are strictly symbolic.
      But in this case my point is that I think the gay community was played by the Democrats who can't or won't deliver the real deal. To the contrary, they have defended the Bush administration's policies in certain cases, like extending health care in Federal jobs to same sex significant others.

      "How I hate those who are dedicated to producing conformity." William S Burroughs

      by shmuelman on Sun Dec 20, 2009 at 11:10:56 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  If you get a longer sentence it (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Viceroy, emsprater, allergywoman

        definitely isn't just a symbolic difference.

        Iuris praecepta sunt haec: Honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere. - Ulpian, Digestae 1, 3

        by Dauphin on Sun Dec 20, 2009 at 11:16:33 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I suppose when you live in a punishment State (0+ / 0-)

          with more than two million people behind bars, doing the longest sentences in the world, including thousands doing life on misdemeanors, there is nothing that should not require more punishment because someone feels that they have been specially victimized. But that's just me. In China, tax evasion is a crime against the State and punished by death. I'm just saying...

          "How I hate those who are dedicated to producing conformity." William S Burroughs

          by shmuelman on Sun Dec 20, 2009 at 11:21:14 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'd say that is a false (5+ / 0-)

            analogy. Yes, sentencing in the US is far too severe and far too little is done about crime prevention and limiting recidivism. But crimes have their hierarchy: A theft is less severe than rape; rape is less severe than murder, and sentencing should reflect that. If motive is used to change an incrimination it sends a message both with regard to crime policy and to the values a lawmaker favours. That is true and should be true regardless of the law's overall punitiveness.

            Iuris praecepta sunt haec: Honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere. - Ulpian, Digestae 1, 3

            by Dauphin on Sun Dec 20, 2009 at 11:24:58 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Hooray. But Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhist, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CherryTheTart, allergywoman

    Atheists, Agnostics, Pagans, Mormons, Catholics and the rest are still going to hell.

    If they could just stop trying to convert people... we would have news.

    •  I am willing to bet that this is not the (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ray Radlein, Pd

      belief of this church. Although some belief systems are certainly more attractive or conducive to reactionaries, I think you might be surprised that not all of these people fit your stereotype, even if it is true today for the majority. I am saying that there is definitely changes taking place in the Christian religious community.

      "How I hate those who are dedicated to producing conformity." William S Burroughs

      by shmuelman on Sun Dec 20, 2009 at 11:14:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Yahoo link broken (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ray Radlein

    Just so you know.

  •  "If you wanna be "queer," be queer" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gsenski, allergywoman

    WTF

    If you wanna be "queer," be queer, that's your fundamental human right to happiness and self-expression, and I support it.

    Again. It's not a choice. A fundamental problem with Evangelicals.

    •  Whether it's a choice or not, it is none (0+ / 0-)

      of my business how you want to live your life. I can tell you plenty of gays are deep in the closet, and living a double life, as I am sure you well know. And that's WTF that comment is about. Since you are offended by it, I think you should write to the pastor of the Church, you can google the address, and explain why you are so hurt.
      I am a civil libertarian and prefer to avoid the subject of "free will" when granting inalienable rights. Hey - I don't even need to agree with what you do or how you look! Suppose some people are gay by choice. Should they be denied their civil rights?

      "How I hate those who are dedicated to producing conformity." William S Burroughs

      by shmuelman on Sun Dec 20, 2009 at 11:27:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You wrote this God awful diary. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        allergywoman

        That was your opinion not the Pastor's.

        Therefore you made it your business.

        I'm glad you're not a Homophobe and you support equal rights. But if you are going to write about a subject... you should know your facts and then own your opinions.

        You are the one who opposes hate crime legislation. You are the one who wrote that people choose to be "queer."

        So own it.

        •  Just because you are against First Amendment (0+ / 0-)

          rights, doesn't mean that I am.

          "How I hate those who are dedicated to producing conformity." William S Burroughs

          by shmuelman on Sun Dec 20, 2009 at 11:58:03 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Again. WTF? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            allergywoman

            Another nonsensical argument from you.

            You are free to write your opinions... Just don't blame the Pastor.

            •  I must not get it - Please, really, answer this (0+ / 0-)

              And set me straight and I am not kidding.
              I wrote a diary that

              1. 100% supports the rights of gay people
              1. That supports the rights of gay people to exercise their rights and lifestyles to the fullest.
              1. That believes that a pastor can use the term "queer" as a breakthrough because it REDUCES the stigma of the term, NOT INCREASES it.
              1. That is was an Evangelical pastor to boot as a positive bell weather change to attitudes towards gay people.
              1. That the gay community got a symbolic act that won't help when you apply for insurance, when you lose you job, when you are denied housing, when your ass gets thrown out of the military, because the lack of political courage.

              And then I get criticized because somehow, someone thought I implied that "homosexuality is a choice," which is the most abstract construct of my statement that people should be able to live their lives the way they want - and anyway as if it were to matter, because then we could deny rights to people when they do make choices - both popular and unpopular.
              What is it that you actually disagree with in this? Is it my bad communication skills? Should I just not diary about an important civil rights? A

              "How I hate those who are dedicated to producing conformity." William S Burroughs

              by shmuelman on Sun Dec 20, 2009 at 01:25:27 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  Gays should stay away (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ExStr8, mph2005, gsenski, jethrock

    "evangelicals" are the extreme of the religious. Gays should have no part of their nutbaggery.

  •  Good Luck To Them (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    emsprater

    And thanks for letting me have my "gay" back.  I can be that kind of happy again.

    "Give me but one firm spot to stand, and I will move the earth." -- Archimedes

    by Limelite on Sun Dec 20, 2009 at 11:28:29 AM PST

  •  don't understand your objection to the term queer (0+ / 0-)

    I use the term because its open-ended.

    People can be queer for different reasons, many of which are completely unrelated to sexual orientation.

    Lesbian, gay, and bisexual refer to sexual orientation alone, and they can fall apart when one or both partners is outside the binary. Pansexual works for people who can be attracted to any sex/gender combination, but it can't cover people who are not. Gynophile and androphile are another alternative set of terms.

    Gender identity and sex identity are also important.

    Finally, there are many people excluded from the straight world for other reasons. I somehow don't expect Evangelical churches to welcome sex workers, but the same attitudes regarding gender, male dominance, class, etc. which marginalize LGBTTIAQQA people also marginalize sex workers among others. I just started reading Avaren Ipsen's book and that covers some of the issues, though she mostly draws on Liberation Theology.

    Remember Duanna Johnson. Tortured by the Memphis PD for being black and trans. Killed by the Memphis PD for speaking up.

    by Marja E on Sun Dec 20, 2009 at 11:58:10 AM PST

    •  I thought this was GOOD NEWS! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Marja E

      I like the fact the Pastor could use the word "QUEER." I thought this was moving ahead - getting out of the closet! How little I know or understand!
      My unequivocal support for the rights of human beings not based on their sexuality is just not good enough for some people. It is "God Awful" in fact, because I recognize gay people as having lives and manifesting the same diversity as everyone else.

      "How I hate those who are dedicated to producing conformity." William S Burroughs

      by shmuelman on Sun Dec 20, 2009 at 12:19:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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