Thursday, August 30, 2007

LCR's statement on Senator Craig

You gotta admire the pitch-perfect response of the Log Cabin Republicans to the latest GOP sex scandal involving Senator Craig.

Log Cabin Questions Senator Craig’s Ability to Continue Serving

Statement from Log Cabin President Patrick Sammon

(Washington, DC) – Log Cabin Republicans president Patrick Sammon made this statement following the news that Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID) pled guilty after a June arrest at a Minnesota airport by a plainclothes police officer investigating lewd conduct complaints in a men’s public restroom.

“Senator Larry Craig’s ability to continue serving the people of Idaho is in serious doubt. He has violated the public trust, not just with his inappropriate and illegal behavior, but in the subsequent explanation of his actions. Innocent people don’t plead guilty. The time to contest these allegations would’ve been before his guilty plea.

“Senator Craig owes the people of Idaho a more credible explanation than what he has provided. By his own admission, he has violated the law. He violated the trust of the people and now he’s questioning the honesty of law enforcement officers. The Republican Party, the people of Idaho, and all Americans should demand better from their elected officials. This situation may have permanently damaged Craig’s ability to continue serving in the U.S. Senate.

“Log Cabin strongly opposes outing. It’s unproductive and distracts people from the real work of convincing more Americans to support equality for gay and lesbian people. It’s not for me to speculate about Senator Craig’s sexual orientation. However it’s clear that whether it’s Jim McGreevey, Ted Haggard, or someone else, life in the closet often leads to destructive, harmful, and reckless behavior.”

Principled, patriotic, and taking the moral high-ground. These gay Republicans know how to speak a language that most straight Americans can relate to and understand--which is why I think the Log Cabin Republicans are the wave of the future.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Saturday, August 25, 2007

In the same boat (with one small difference)

Fellow Christians have ripped on me for defending gay and lesbian civil rights. "Don't be a fool," I've been told. "Do you really think those gays you are sticking your neck out for would ever defend your rights as a Christian?"

Maybe not all . . . but I hold out my hopes for some.

From the Letters section of today's L.A. Times:

Re "Should God go to the ballgame?" Opinion, Aug. 19

As the California and Western region director of Log Cabin Republicans, an organization of gay and lesbian Republicans, I feel compelled to respond to Tom Krattenmaker's arguments against public displays of Christianity at athletic events. Replace the word "Christian" with "gay" and you would find a similar screed vented recently in San Diego about events for gays and lesbians. The point of these events is to allow groups to publicly identify themselves, feel a little proud of who they are and have a good time. If we are going to condone one, we can't condemn the other.

Gays and lesbians want the same thing as Christians--to be themselves honestly and openly without having to worry about others trying to shame them. There is one small difference between our community and the Christian groups at these events--we don't recruit.

--James Vaughn, Sacramento



Thursday, August 23, 2007

A bit of housekeeping

Some items worth mentioning:

"More about me": I've added this new item to the sidebar. I learned that when I simply directed people to my website, they had to do too much hunting around to find the pertinent articles on my background, views, and why I began musing on Christianity, homosexuality and the Bible. This sidebar item should help streamline that process.

My email address: Sorry it wasn't posted for several months. You may write me at: MusingsOnSite (at) netzero (dot) net. Back when I switched templates, Blogger dumped my email address from the sidebar and I didn't notice until this week. I'm not trying to diss you, I really do love getting email. In fact, I make it a policy to answer every sincere letter I receive (the emphasis on "sincere"), and have even been known to answer slightly obnoxious yet intellectually honest ones as well. Email is especially important to me since I have disabled the comments section on this blog.

Why have I disabled the comments section?: Because I'm not interested in providing a forum where certain unworthy persons, who have nothing better to do than lurk on this blog and leave me an occasional harassing email, spew their strange bile at my intelligent, compassionate, thoughtful readers--who fortunately make up the majority of you. Comments sections seem to attract unwanted types--particularly when controversial subjects are being discussed--so even the option of being able to monitor it doesn't make setting one up more appealing to me.

Monday, August 20, 2007

A year of blogging and beyond

The one year anniversary of this blog is long over (July 31), nevertheless I'm still reflecting on the adventure this past year has been. If you've been reading since the beginning, thanks so much for being on board. If you've only recently discovered this blog--welcome!

It's been a challenge to meet my personal goal of blogging at least once a week; I haven't always been successful. If you've checked back and seen the same post sitting here for fourteen straight days, it's probably because I became overwhelmed dealing with some pocket of chaos in my life. Here's a list of some of the things I might be off doing during those silent stretches:

1. Taking care of the 16-month-old. When he's up and around, my whole life revolves around feeding, changing, amusing, comforting and scolding him. He's walking now, albeit somewhat unsteadily, because even two surgeries haven't completely corrected his club feet (a condition he was born with). At least once a month we have to take him to see one of the three doctors whose care he is under.

2. Homeschooling my two older girls. One is in fourth grade, the other in second grade. They study math, reading, writing, history, science, art, and soon music. I'm not a very organized teacher, but we're managing. And the kids love it.

3. Cooking. As a five-member, single-income family living in L.A., we can't afford to eat out much. Home-cooking is cheaper and healthier. It is also way, way more work. I have always enjoyed cooking, but after doing it day-in and day-out for fifteen years, I wonder whether I still enjoy it as much as I used to.

4. Laundry. Four to six loads a week.

5. Teaching the women's Bible study. Used to be a breeze when I just had the two older kids. Now that the baby has come along, finding time to put together lessons is much harder. I'm also scheduled to speak at the women's retreat this coming October. I wonder what I'm going to talk about?

6. Learning Khmer. Say what? Yeah, I'm learning the Cambodian language on my own. Next year my husband and I may have the opportunity to go on a short-term missions trip to Cambodia with a team from our church. Mosquito bites, here I come. Khmer is actually a terrific language to learn once you get beyond thinking it sounds like someone talking underwater.

7. Fiction writing. Ah, this is the fun stuff. I'm part of a writing group where we share stories and discuss character development, plot development, setting, dialogue--all those elements that make up a great story. We meet every three weeks and I can honestly say that my fellow writers are some of the best people I've met in recent times. Almost as good as my gay friends.

(Actually, learning Khmer and writing fiction are the two main activities I do to make myself feel like I still have fun and exciting things going on in my life. Not exactly rock concerts and ski trips, but when you're stuck at home 24/7 you have to make do.)

When do I have time to blog? In the mornings, before the kids wake up. During stretches when the baby is playing happily and isn't causing trouble. After homeschooling and before the baby gets up from his nap (which is right now). In the evenings, when I'm not dead tired.

Sometimes, the time to blog just doesn't seem to be there, yet I know I have to make time. I can't shake the conviction that talking and thinking aloud about gay issues from within the conservative Christian church is one of the most important things I could be doing with my time right now. People have ended up losing their families, their faith, and sometimes their lives due to the slander, misinformation and prejudice we still harbor against gay and lesbian people in our cloistered church circles. That grim reality doesn't always touch upon my life directly, or even indirectly. It's easy to ignore. Admittedly, it is often a struggle to remember. I try to remember, because I believe it is urgent that Christians change the way they think about gay and lesbian people if we wish to bring honor to the gospel, credibility to the authority of Scripture, and glory to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Quote for the day

When people make their struggles known, those who listen usually feel uncomfortable and uncertain of what to do. Most of us end up giving advice or reassurance that draws a courteous yawn. We rarely see such moments as opportunity for powerful connection . . . The usual pattern for most of us in dealing with a hurting friend is to retreat, reprove or refer. Like Israelites avoiding a leper, most of us want to establish a safe distance between us and the emotionally troubled. We often do so by reciting Christian phrases that arouse no passion in us but are supposed to do powerful things for them . . . Or we try to scold people into holier living. Reproving another provides an easy route to representing God without the hard work of involvement. It's Sinai without Bethlehem, legislation without incarnation; only Moses, never Christ.

Larry Crabb, Connecting: Healing Ourselves and Our Relationships

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Don't ask, don't tell, fourteen years later

"Attitudes on Gays in Military Shifting" says today's L.A. Times, reporting on something a lot of us have known for a while:

"Just like in the general population, there is a generational shift within the military," said Paul Rieckhoff, a former Army platoon commander in Iraq who is now executive director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, a group largely composed of younger retired soldiers. "The average 18-year-old has been around gay people, has seen gay people in popular culture, and they're not this boogeyman in the same way they were to [Joint Chiefs chairman, Marine General] Pete Pace's generation."

I remember in 1993 when President Clinton was talking about dropping the ban on gays and lesbians in the military, I was one of those conservatives who was completely incensed. The following year I retaliated by going out and voting for every Republican name I saw on the ballot for the '94 midterm elections, regardless of who they were. Apparently I wasn't the only one.

Now fourteen years later . . . well, what a difference fourteen years makes. Isn't it time we drop this ridiculous "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy from the military, which ironically, thanks to Clinton, is now encoded in U.S. law? If gays and lesbians want to fight for their country, and the generation of straights who serve alongside them doesn't care about their sexual orientation, then what's the point?

DADT only serves to conceal the fact that so many gays and lesbians are currently risking their lives for our national security, which enables us to continue indulging in stereotypes of them as morally perverse people who are incapable of embracing ideals such as courage, honor and duty to country, so that we can in turn justify enforcing DADT since we can assume other servicemen and -women hold to the same stereotypes, which DADT helps to perpetuate. Makes sense, doesn't it?

Sunday, August 05, 2007

How to write a conservative Christian article on homosexuality

I was disappointed to learn that a Reformed group I greatly respect, the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, which is normally insightful and gospel-centered in their thinking, has just published an article on homosexuality in their magazine called, "A Theological Overview of Nature and Natural Function Implications for Christian Sexuality in the 21st Century," by Dr. Samuel Hensley. Sadly, it contains all the usual slippery stuff. These sorts of articles pop up like mad in conservative Christian magazines, and now I have found it here too.

Since such pieces are apparently in high demand, I've written a guide for anyone out there who wants to get one of their own articles on homosexuality published in their favorite Christian magazine. I have used Dr. Hensley's article as a model:

How To Write a Conservative Christian Article on Homosexuality.

1. Portray all gays and lesbians as unanimously hostile, leftist and anti-Christian.

The gay community has taken a stand that refuses to even consider that the lifestyle may be immoral, contrary to Scripture and contrary to church teaching from multiple denominational prospectives throughout the history of the Christian faith. Any questioning of the gay assertions elicits a knee jerk reaction of hostility.

Fail to make more accurate statements such as: “Much of the gay community, which tends to be dominated by left-wing politics,” or “Many in the gay community, particularly the unbelieving population,” because such statements wouldn’t confirm our conservative Christian stereotypes and prejudices.

2. Pull the most extreme quotes from leftist gay activists to represent the moral values of all gay and lesbian people.

A more blatant and unabashed quote comes from gay activist Michael Swift. Swift claims, “The family unit-spawning ground of lies, betrays, mediocrity, hypocrisy and violence, will be abolished. The family unit, which only dampens imagination and curbs free will, must be eliminated.”

Ignore the positive views of marriage and family from other gay activists, such as conservative journalist Jonathan Rauch:

It seems to me that the two strongest candidates [for supporting the institution of marriage] are these: domesticating men and providing reliable caregivers. Both purposes are critical to the functioning of a humane and stable society, and both are much better served by marriage—that is, by one-to-one lifelong commitment—than by any other institution.

Or gay conservative Andrew Sullivan:

Society, after all, has good reasons to extend legal advantages to heterosexuals who choose the formal sanction of marriage over simply living together. They make a deeper commitment to one another and to society; in exchange society extends certain benefits to them. Marriage provides an anchor, if an arbitrary and weak one, in the maelstrom of sex and relationships to which we are all prone. It provides a mechanism for emotional stability and economic security.

3. Assert with boldness and authority that homosexuality is not genetically determined.

It can be demonstrated scientifically that homosexuality is not genetically determined and it is not determined by intrauterine hormone levels during gestation.

4. Then later concede in more subtle, off-handed statements that genes might in fact have something to do with it.

Genes may exert some indirect influence over the choices that individuals make later in life in response to difficult situations but they do not impose a homosexual orientation on anyone . . .

I would summarize by suggesting that homosexuality, while possibly indirectly affected by genes and certainly heavily impacted by environment, begins with reversible choices.

5. Cite the "twins studies" when claiming that genes don’t determine homosexuality.

Registry studies, that is studies where twins are recruited for other reasons and then later studied in regard to sexual orientation, show that the concordance rate is not 100%. In fact, in the largest available study from Australia that included over 14,000 twins showed a concordance rate of only 30% for homosexuality. Since both twins experience the same intrauterine environment, this indicates that neither genetics nor intrauterine hormones determine sexual orientation.

6. Yet ignore the twins studies when they fail to support your own theory about the origins of homosexuality.

Homosexuality develops most frequently in men in situations of sexual abuse or where the father is distant or ineffective at key points in childhood psychological development. It may simply be that he cannot relate to his son. Whatever the reason, the young boy has defensive detachment from his father in that he rejects his father as a role model for masculinity. The role of the mother is also important in that they are often domineering in family relationships. The lack of a satisfactory relationship with his father may result in a teenager or pre-teen developing strong attachments that, in the beginning, are not sexual with older boys. With puberty these attachments may lead to experiments with homosexual acts in an attempt to foster masculine intimacy. In some cases a homosexual identity is the result.

Fail to confront the question of how identical twins with the same parents, upbringing and family environment could show “a concordance rate of only 30% for homosexuality,” if the “distant father-dominant mother” theory is correct.

7. To back up your claims, always cite Dr. Jeffrey Satinover (twice in this article and in footnotes #14 and #20) and Dr. Joseph Nicolosi (footnotes #21, 24, 25). For bonus points, cite Dr. Paul Cameron too. (I don't see him here, but one might check to see if Satinover and/or Nicolosi cite Cameron in their work.)

8. Make claims that homosexuals can change based on the existence of reorientation therapy and the need for “hope.” Do not make these claims based upon the existence of real homosexual people who have actually changed into bonafide heterosexuals (since you will have an extremely difficult time finding any).

To accept the view that these behaviors are unchangeable is to trap many persons, who wish to be different, in bondage especially since reorientation therapy offers hope to motivated individuals . . .

If homosexuality is spoken against in scripture and if treatment options are available, then those individuals who teach that homosexuality is an acceptable alternate lifestyle before God and that it cannot be changed, are unloving. They close the door of hope to people caught in this maladaptive, unhealthy behavior and condemn them to a life without hope of change.

9. After you make bold and authoritative claims about how homosexuals can “change,” acknowledge in an off-handed statement at the very end of the article that reorientation therapy may not work and people may have to accept a lifetime of celibacy. In other words, homosexuals may not be able to change after all.

We must provide a new loving social circle to support people who are making difficult life changes of all types. Sexual reorientation is possible. Where this is unsuccessful, the attraction can be resisted and chaste lives are possible.