Monday, January 25, 2010

"Christian" Nation in Danger?

I am not sure why, but people still send me annoying chain letter emails; particular those of the "evangelical" variety. Ones that advise me to boycott our currency if they stop printing "In God We Trust" on the currency, or to make sure we protect this "Christian nation" by not letting Congress remove "one nation under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance, and so on. The most recent chain email I received was an argument to prove that the United States is indeed a Christian nation, by listing the preamble to all the state constitutions; they all mention "god" or "almighty god" in their preambles (they really do, look them up).

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Linking "ex-gay" therapy and Prop 8

Since the federal trial of Proposition 8 is not be televised or released on YouTube, I am dependent on newspapers and online media outlets to fill me on what is going on in the courtroom. The Los Angeles Times released an article discussing Wednesday's (Jan 20th) events, including a testimony from an "ex-gay" survivor and a highlight of the role of religion in the Prop. 8 campaign.

The article did not, however, make the link I would have liked to seen between "ex-gay" therapy and issues of religious-sanctioned discrimination, as seen in the Prop. 8 campaign. I would like to make these comparisons based on my experiences as an "ex-gay" survivor and an individual with a history (and present) of experiencing religious-sanctioned discrimination.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Quake in Haiti an Act of Godly Love?

As the Haitians struggle through the ruins of cities after a tragic natural disaster, the famed American televangelist, Pat Robertson, makes the claim that perhaps this tragic earthquake is a "blessing in disguise." He blames the quake on the Haitians' "pact with the devil" two centuries ago while seeking liberation from the French.

It is almost astonishing that anyone would believe that an instant event that leads destruction of communities and the loss of lives would be an act of God. Furthermore, it raises the question: why are the victims the one to be blamed?

I want to be upset with Robertson, but I have to ask myself first, what is it that leads to his conviction that a violent and tragic event (albeit, yes, caused by nature) is an act of God's love? The real question here is about violence and love.

Can the two be used in the same sentence? If God is love, then perhaps we need to look at what love is to understand the nature of God.

To borrow from the Christian text of 1 Corinthians 13, "Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things" (NRSV). Furthermore, we learn from Romans 13:10, that love does no harm.

It is difficult to imagine then that God would wipe out people on the basis of love, when it contradicts the very idea that love is about kindness and doesn't do harm to ones neighbor. Perhaps Pat Robertson needs to check his convictions regarding love.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Image of a Scout

A recent letter to the editor in the LA Times responded to an op-ed piece by Charles Fleming (a former Scout, current professor at USC) that criticized the Boy Scouts of America and its continued discrimination against gays.

The writer of the letter (Howard Lockwood) expressed his resentment towards Fleming's article, saying that, "It appears he [Fleming] became politically liberal and ashamed of being an Eagle Scout [...] Fleming and the ACLU want to kill Scouting unless it conforms to their liberal views."

It appears that Lockwood wants to preserve the traditional, conservative nature of the organization. He references several prominent past scouts that appear to epitomize the image of scouting.

Lockwood believes that "Scouting builds character and responsibility and develops personal fitness. Any boy would be lucky to be in Scouting, and now more than ever its positive influence is needed."

It is difficult to see how one's sexual orientation could inhibit them from building their character and responsibility and developing their fitness through Scouting. If Lockwood truly stands behind his claims, shouldn't "any boy" truly mean "any boy," regardless of their sexual orientation?

It is understandable that Lockwood wants to preserve the traditional, historic image of Scouting, and apparently manhood, that he hold so closely to his personal life and heart, but does it necessarily have to be a postwar, uncritically bourgeois and stridently heterosexist image? Perhaps Lockwood needs to re-imagine what it means to be a Scout.