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Archive for November 6, 2008

I have no Title for this (redaction)

Sit down Christian. You cannot wave your unread Bible and scare me because I know the larger story that runs through it from beginning to end. I’m trying to resist the temptation to snatch it from your hands and beat you with it. I am your worst nightmare, a Texas Preacher who knows the good book better than you do. Show me your scriptures. Show me how you justify condemning homosexual people.

Show me what you got, Christian. The Sodom story? That story is about people who wanted to commit a brutal rape. Let’s all say it together, “God doesn’t like rape.” You could have listened to your heart and learned that, Christian. Move on. What else you got?

A passage from Leviticus? Are you kidding me? Are you prepared to adhere to the whole Levitical code of behavior? No? Then why would you expect others to? Move on. What else?

Two passages — two verses from Romans and one from 1 Corinthians. There you stand, your justification for a worldwide campaign of hatred written on two limp pieces of paper. Have you looked closely at these passages? Do you understand their context and original language? I could show you why you don’t have much, but there is something more important you need to see.

Come with me to the church cellar. Come now and don’t delay. I am shaking with anger and fighting the urge to grab you by the collar and drag you down these steps.

You didn’t know the church had a cellar? Oh yes, every church does. Down, down, we go into the darkness. Don’t slip on the flagstone and never mind the heat.

There, do you see the iron furnace door, gaping open? Do you see the roaring flames? Do you see the huge man with glistening muscles, covered with soot? Do you see him feeding the fire with his massive scooped shovel?

He feeds these flames with the Bible, with every book, chapter and verse that American Christians must ignore to support our bloated lifestyles, our selfishness, our materialism, our love of power, our neglect of the poor, our support of injustice, our nationalism, and our pride.

See how frantically he works? Time is short, and he has much to burn. The prophets, the Shema, whole sections of Matthew, most of Luke, the entire book of James. Your blessed ten commandments? Why would you want to post them on courtroom walls when you’ve burned them in your own cellar?

Do you see? DO YOU SEE? Do you see how we rip, tear, and burn scriptures to justify our lives?

The heat from the cursed furnace rises up and warms the complacent worshipers in the pews above. The soot from the fire blackens our stained glass so that we may not see out and no one wants to see in.

Do you smell the reek of this injustice? It is a stink in the nostrils of the very living God. We are dressed in beautiful clothes and we wear pretty smiles, but we stink of blasphemous hypocrisy.

Every church in America – mine not excepted – has a cellar like this. We must shovel 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, because every chapter and verse we ignore must be burned to warm our comfy pews.

Our souls are stained from the biblical holocaust, but somehow these two scraps of scripture mean all the world to you. You swallow whole camels, and now you’re gagging on a gnat? When did you ever give a shit about what the bible has to say?

Sit down, Christian. Sit down and be you silent.

How long has it been since you forgot that we were called to walk the earth as pilgrims? Do you not remember when he told us to give our coats to those in need and sell our possessions to help the poor? Did you forget how the first church had all things in common so that none would lack?

Did you forget the day he told us that whatever we did for the oppressed we did for him, and whatever we withheld from them was kept from him as well?

Sit down, Christian. You have not earned the right to speak to this generation. The right to speak is earned with love.

Take back your Bible. Take it back and start reading it. Fall in love again with Jesus. Sell what you must and walk the earth. Let your love be astonishing and people may one day listen to your words.

Even now you might be saved. Our God is merciful and forgiveness awaits.

The Preacher

Real Live Preacher . com pgs. 107-109

SF city attorney prepares legal challenge to Prop 8

(San Francisco, California) At least three lawsuits are are in the works to challenge Proposition 8, a proposed amendment to the California constitution that would ban same-sex marriage.

One of the suits is planned by City of San Francisco attorney Dennis Herrera’s office. A second is by the three LGBT groups that won the historic California Supreme Court ruling that allowed same-sex marriage in the state.  The third is by one of the couples who were married after the court ruling went into effect in May.

All three suits would begin if Prop 8 passes.

With 95 percent of the vote in across California the “Yes” votes have a slim lead: 52 – 48 percent. Though some outlets called the ballot measure in favor of the anti-gay ban a few hours ago, as many as 3 million ballots – late absentee and provisional ballots – are left to be counted.

It is those ballots that opponents of the amendment are counting on for the measure’s defeat. But most political watchers in the state say it is unlikely the additional ballots will change the result.

The American Civil Liberties Union, Lambda Legal and the National Center for Lesbian Rights filed a writ petition before the California Supreme Court on Wednesday, a preliminary move to a suit.

The petition charges that Proposition 8 is invalid because the initiative process was improperly used in an attempt to undo the constitution’s core commitment to equality for everyone, by eliminating a fundamental right from just one group – lesbian and gay Californians.

The petition also says that Proposition 8 improperly attempts to prevent the courts from exercising their essential constitutional role of protecting the equal protection rights of minorities. The groups in the petition say that under the California Constitution, such radical changes to the organizing principles of state government cannot be made by simple majority vote through the initiative process, but instead must, at a minimum, go through the state legislature first.

The California Constitution itself sets out two ways to alter the document that sets the most basic rules about how state government works, the groups said in a statement.

Through the initiative process, voters can make relatively small changes to the constitution.  But any measure that would change the underlying principles of the constitution must first be approved by the legislature before being submitted to the voters.  That didn’t happen with Proposition 8, and that’s why it’s invalid, the petition said.

“If the voters approved an initiative that took the right to free speech away from women, but not from men, everyone would agree that such a measure conflicts with the basic ideals of equality enshrined in our constitution.  Proposition 8 suffers from the same flaw – it removes a protected constitutional right – here, the right to marry – not from all Californians, but just from one group of us,” said Jenny Pizer, Senior Counsel with Lambda Legal.   “That’s too big a change in the principles of our constitution to be made just by a bare majority of voters.”

Robin Tyler and Diane Olson, the first lesbian couple to be legally married in Los Angeles County, also plan a lawsuit against Proposition 8.

Their attorney, Gloria Allred, said the suit would argue that the measure is unconstitutional.

Proposition 8 is the first time such a vote has taken place in state where gay unions are legal.

A study by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law indicated that by Election Day 2008, approximately18,000 same-sex couples had married in California.

Exit polls reported by CNN show that while a slim majority of white voters said they rejected the amendment, an equally slim majority of African American and Hispanic voters said they had voted for the amendment.

The battle for and against the measure, known as Proposition 8, cost more than $70 million, making it one of the most expensive ballot campaigns in history. Much of the money on both sides came from outside California.

Similar bans on same-sex marriage were approved by voters Tuesday in Florida and Arizona; while in Arkansas the electorate endorsed a measure to prevent same-sex couples from adopting.