Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Items of Note

In no particular order, a few posts of interest from around the blogosphere...

1. Greg Boyd offers a thoroughly biblical refutation to the fundamentalistic notion that God uses natural disasters to punish "immorality." Not that the fundamentalists who make such claims would ever allow a well-reasoned argument, no matter how biblically supported, to get in the way of their latest crusade, but we can at least try to limit the amount of damage that such people routinely do to the church's reputation.

2. Doorman-Priest weighs in on the ELCA's recent decision to allow member churches to fully include GLBT individuals in the life of the congregation, and the ways that conservatives use the Bible to argue against inclusion. Key quote:
The situation we face is one where people believe they know their Bibles: after all they can quote verses at the drop of a hat as if that were somehow evidence. That is not the same as understanding their Bibles and without understanding there is not knowledge. Without understanding and knowledge there can not be evaluation.

3. Groups like Exodus and Focus on the Family would flatly deny that they in any way support miscarriages of justice like this one. And I believe that, from their perspective, they sincerely believe in the goodness of their own cause. Yet it's precisely because of their tireless efforts to pathologize and stigmatize homosexuality in the public arena (couched in plenty of talk about "compassion," but still geared toward equating "gay" with mental illness and sin of the worst sort) that an innocent man could be presumed guilty simply because he was gay.

Granted, much has changed since the late '80s when Bernard Baran was imprisoned on false charges, but the attitude of the court that convicted him was fully in line with what one still hears from the religious right during public policy debates.

4. Peterson offers some more thoughts on mixed-orientation marriages. While such unions can occasionally work, I'm very thankful that I never entered into one myself - as much for the sake of the woman I might have loved but would have never truly desired as for myself.


alden l. baker, jr. said...

If I may, a brief note regarding your well-meaning statement: "Granted, much has changed since the late '80s when Bernard Baran was imprisoned on false charges..."

Having been a militant queer most all of my life-- will be 60 at years' end-- if you are suggesting that things are now better for queers than back in the 80's at the time of Bee's homophobic government assault, I would beg to differ. In fact, I would suggest that things were better in the 60's and 70's than they are today.

Back then, the enemy was clear. Now, they shroud themselves in their pious "helpful" and "redeeming" dogma. (not to mention the carpet-bagging mental health community which is raking in the tax-payer cake with these civil commitments!)

I too was incarcerated-- for ten years for sexual crimes NOT committed. I spent two additional years past my sentence while fighting a civil commitment process. In that time, I came to know Bee Baran. We shared much in our respective histories and I would submit that were it not for the theocrats and their progressive agenda to demonize queers working in concert with self-serving government officials, there would most certainly not be the large number of wrongfully incarcerated homosexuals.

It is fortunate that John Swomley's unwavering assault on these craven government officials continued despite their many roadblocks which finally allowed Bee to be out from under the heel of the government. He no longer need be intimidated by new laws being passed daily to further punish those who have paid their debt through incarceration in heinous prison settings AFTER THE FACT with ongoing laws that are being passed.

I strongly believe that it will get much worse before it gets better and find solace in the fact that I am closer to the end of life than the beginning.

at what price survival

alden l. baker, jr.

Doorman-Priest said...

Thanks for the plug.