27 November 2010

Keeping Busy - A few things that I have been involved with recently.

Integrity Participation at the 234th Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of New York

Integrity NYC Metro leadership attended the 234th Convention of the Diocese of New York, held at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine on November 13th, 2010. Paul Lane, the Diocesan Organizer for New York coordinated a table partnership between the Chapter and the LGBT Concerns Committee of the Diocese. Chap Day (Provincial Coordinator, Province II) and Esteban Giron (outgoing Acting Convener) helped staff the table. We had information about Believe Out Loud (brochures and buttons), as well as Integrity membership brochures. A good 50 of each were taken, if not more! We had very positive feedback. Additionally, Bishop Sisk announced a special convention for the election of a Bishop Co-Adjutor, to be held on October 29th, 2011. Bishop Sisk made it clear that although the diocese will be choosing a Bishop Co-Adjutor, to serve as the 16th Bishop of New York upon Bishop Sisk's retirement. Bishop Sisk made it clear that he is not going to be going anywhere in the near future. Bishop Roskam announced her retirement effective January 1st, 2012. Additionally,

The Rt. Rev. Mark Sisk

Trans Day of Remembrance Participation
On Friday, November 19th, Paul Lane, Chap Day, Mary O'Shaughnessy, Michale Mallon and Tina Cioffi (all Integrity NYC Metro board members) attended the Trans Day of Remembrance hosted at the New York LGBT Center. The event was co-sponsored by Gender Identity Project, Human Rights Campaign, and the Church of St. Luke in the Fields. The Rev. Mary Foulke (of St. Luke's) offered an invocation. Integrity NYC members were honored to attend and stand in solidarity with the Trans community.

Welcoming Congregation Workshop Participation

Chap Day, Rev. Susan Copley, Rev. Br. Tobias Haller, BSG
On Saturday, the 20th of November, the Committe on LGBT Concerns of the Diocese of New York sponsored a Welcoming Congregation workshop at St. Ann's Church Morrisania in the Bronx. Integrity NYC Metro Board Members Christian Paolino, Paul Lane, Br. Millard Cook, n/BSG, Mary O'Shaughnessy, Michael Cudney, and Chap Day attended. Paul and Michel, serving in their dual roles as members of the LGBT Concerns Committee helped organize the event. Mary and Chap served as speakers. The Rev. Susan Copley from Christ Church Tarrytown told her own story of moving to full inclusion. The Rev. Tobias Haller, BSG offered a moving reflection on LGBT inclusion that is reproduced on his blog In a Godward Direction.

06 November 2010

A Most Remarkable Man

Two weeks ago I had the privilege of spending an evening at the Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew (UMC) on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. The guest speaker that night was the Rev. John Makokha, a Senior Pastor of the Riruta United Methodist Church in the suburbs of Nairobi, Kenya. He is the African correspondent for Reconciling Ministries Network and is the Country Coordinator of Other Sheep Kenya, a faith-based LBGT organization.

John is in the back row wearing a rainbow stole.

Rev. Makokha was brought up as an evangelical Christian believing that homosexuality was a sin. He told us of how he came to believe that this teaching is wrong. As a youth, one of his good friends was expelled from school, rejected and thrown out by his family and finally committed suicide. All of this because he was gay. On his journey to becoming a minister, he also had many encounters with LGBT people. Each encounter leading him more and more to the belief that the traditional teachings that he had been brought up with were wrong.

John earned his B.Ed. Degree at the University of Nairobi and has served as graduate teacher in various high schools in Kenya. He was ordained a minister in the Triumphant Pentecostal Church and served as a pastor in a Free Methodist Church. After earning an M.A. degree in Missions at Nairobi Evangelical School of Theology, he started Riruta United Methodist Church, the only Reconciling Ministry (RMN) in Africa. Anne Baraza, his wife, also a graduate of Nairobi Evangelical School of Theology, is the Counselor for Other Sheep Kenya and the CEO of Riruta United Women Empowerment Programme.

As Coordinator for Other Sheep Kenya, John passionately organizes and leads educational awareness seminars on human sexuality and gender identity throughout Kenya. Other Sheep Kenya addresses religious homophobia, trans-phobia, social justice, and HIV/AIDS in Kenya through capacity building and advocacy programs for LGBT people and Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG). Other Sheep Kenya engages in (1) promoting the recognition and solidarity of LGBT people through recruitment into the organization, counseling/information sharing, and networking; (2) participation in LGBT activities in the country; (3) sharing information and experience between LGBT and PFLAG groups; (4) promoting the human rights of LGBT people through advocacy and campaigns; (5) training and mobilizing religious allies to win the war on homophobia and trans-phobia; (6) providing education, training and information on HIV/AIDS, care and treatment to the LGBT community; (7) promoting reproductive health education; and (8) mitigating against gender based sexual violence and substance and drug abuse within the LGBT community.

Because of his pro-LGBT stance, Rev. Makokha, along with his wife, Anne , have been evicted from their home and from the buildings that they had used as a church. They now have new places to live and worship, but are still in a very precarious situation. But still they persist and need help with some of the basics. They are trying to purchase a small property to house their church so that they no longer risk eviction due to their support of LGBT people. They would also like to buy a car to be used to rescue LGBT people who are under serious threat.

Please visit them.


Much of the information in this post was provided by John’s wife Anne.

03 November 2010

International Campaign launched against Anglican Covenant

I stand with the dedicated group of individuals who have started this movement.  Seriously, if I had wanted to be in a homophobic, misogynistic church with a top-down, dictatorial governing structure I could have remained a Roman Catholic.

LONDON - An international coalition of Anglicans has been created to campaign against the proposed Anglican Covenant. Campaigners believe the proposed Covenant constitutes unwarranted interference in the internal life of the member churches of the Anglican Communion, would narrow the acceptable range of belief and practice within Anglicanism, and would prevent further development of Anglican thought.

The Coalition's website noanglicancovenant.org will provide resources for Anglicans around the world to learn about the potential risks of the proposed Anglican Covenant.

"We believe that the majority of the clergy and laity in the Anglican Communion would not wish to endorse this document," according to the Coalition's Moderator, the Revd. Dr. Lesley Fellows, who is also the Coalition's Convenor for the Church of England. "Apart from church insiders, very few people are aware of the Covenant. We want to encourage a wider discussion and to highlight the problems the Covenant will cause."

The idea of an Anglican Covenant was first proposed in 2004 as a means to address divisions among the member churches of the Anglican Communion on matters ranging from human sexuality to the role of women. The current draft of the Covenant, which has been unilaterally designated as the "final" draft, has been referred to the member churches of the Communion.

The proposed Covenant establishes mechanisms which would have the effect of forcing member churches to conform to the demands and expectations of other churches or risk exclusion from the Communion.

Critics of the proposed Anglican Covenant, including members of the new Coalition, believe that it will fundamentally alter the nature of historic Anglicanism in several ways, including the narrowing of theological views deemed acceptable, the erosion of the freedom of the member churches to govern themselves, and the concentration of authority in the hands of a small number of bishops.

Two English groups, Inclusive Church and Modern Church, ran anti-Covenant advertisements in last week's Church Times and the Church of England Newspaper aiming to make more members of the Church of England aware of the dangers of the proposed Anglican Covenant.

"If the Anglican Communion has a problem, this is not the solution," according to former Bishop of Worcester Peter Selby. "Whether those who originated the Covenant intended it or not, it is already, and will become even more, a basis for a litigious Communion from which some will seek to exclude others."

The launch of the No Anglican Covenant Coalition website coincides with the commemoration of the sixteenth-century theologian Richard Hooker. "Hooker taught us that God's gifts of scripture, tradition, and reason will guide us to new insights in every age," according to the Canadian priest and canon law expert, the Revd. Canon Alan Perry.

"The proposed Anglican Covenant would freeze Anglican theology and Anglican polity at a particular moment. Anglican polity rejected control by foreign bishops nearly 500 years ago. The proposed Anglican Covenant reinstates it."

The No Anglican Covenant Coalition began in late October with a series of informal email conversations among several international Anglican bloggers concerned that the Covenant was being rushed through the approval process before most Anglicans had any opportunity to learn how the proposed new structures would affect them.


Revd. Dr Lesley Fellows (England) +44 1844 239268
Dr. Lionel Deimel (USA) +1-412-512-9087
Revd. Malcolm French (Canada) +1-306-550-2277
Revd. Lawrence Kimberley (New Zealand) +64 3 981 7384

19 June 2010

Been a little busy lately. Organizing this:

The Committee on LGBT Concerns of the Diocese of New York, along with Integrity NYC Metro and Oasis Newark invite everyone to join us in the 2010 LGBT Pride March on Sunday, June 27th 2010. This year we have a float with music. The float is very basic. Our people will add the color, so dress accordingly and don’t forget the sunscreen. Please bring your parish banner or a sign identifying your parish.

Our meeting place is on East 38th Street, between Madison and Park Avenues. Everyone should be there and ready to go at 12:30 p.m. The March NYC Pride will do their best to get us moving shortly thereafter. Due to security regulations, you may not join the March en route.

If you will be unable to attend your local Sunday service you are warmly invited to join with Integrity NYC Metro and Oasis Newark in worship at the Church of the Transfiguration, One East 29th Street for their 11:00 a.m. Eucharist. Meet in front of the church after the service and walk the 9 short blocks to the March staging area together. (about 10 minute walk).

After the March, please join with your fellow marchers at a Festive Choral Evensong at the Church of St. Luke in the Fields, Hudson Street south of Christopher, at 6:30 p.m. The Rt. Rev. Herbert A. Donovan will preside. Rev. Altagracia Perez will preach. Refreshments will follow on the grounds.

If you have any questions, or for more information, please contact Paul Lane at pride@lgbt.dioceseny.org

11 June 2010

Bishop Senyonjo's visit to St. Luke's

St. Luke in the Fields is my home parish.   Bp. Christopher Senyonjo visited us last week.  
Here is the article from "Walking With Integrity":

The story below was provided by Paul J. Lane, Diocesan Organizer for Integrity in the Diocese of New York. The photo shows Paul on the left, Bishop Christopher in the center, and Chap James Day [Integrity's Province 2 Coordinator] on the right.

The aroma of the incense hung heavily in the hot, humid air as the Ugandan prelate mounted the steps of the pulpit in the old village church, St. Luke in the Fields, in New York’s Greenwich Village last Sunday [June 6, 2010].

The Right Reverend Christopher Senyonjo, the retired Bishop of the Diocese of West Buganda, Uganda, took as his subject the second reading of the day: Galatians 1:11-24; Paul discussing his conversion from his former life as a persecutor of Christians. The congregation listened in rapt attention as the bishop spoke of his own "conversion" and how, by listening to the stories of LGBT people, he came to believe that LGBT Christians are full members of the body of Christ. He told of how he also has been persecuted and how, if a new bill proposed in the Ugandan Parliament becomes law, he himself may be jailed for his inclusive stance. He also spoke of how, in Uganda, openly LGBT persons are not able to receive any treatment for HIV/AIDS.

The Rev. Mary Foulke, Senior Associate for Pastoral Care and Outreach at St. Luke’s "was delighted to welcome Bp. Christopher to St. Luke’s and to make this connection with those around the world who embrace a critical Biblical theology in support of liberative practices of welcoming and standing up with those on the margins. Bp. Christopher is a wonderful example of many grassroots priests, bishops and lay leaders in the Southern Hemisphere that are doing great work and who don’t get the press or attention that others with more conservative American support seem to attract."

Paul J. Lane, the Chair of the parish’s LGBT Life @ St. Luke’s Committee and Diocesan Organizer for Integrity for the Diocese of New York says that "as a parish, this is only the beginning of our relationship with Bp. Christopher and Integrity Uganda. Our goal is to be able to raise $1000.00 for Bp. Christopher’s ministry and we began that journey today. The stories of our LGBT brothers and sisters around the world must be brought to the attention of those of us who live in more accepting societies." St. Luke’s history as been one of full inclusion as well as support of such organizations such as Integrity USA and Changing Attitude Nigeria, having in the past hosted Mr. Davis Mac-Iyalla, the exiled leader of CA Nigeria.

After the service, Bp. Christopher was an honored guest at the annual parish picnic, where he was able to speak directly to many parish members, including a group of seminarians from his own alma mater, Union Theological Seminary.
Integrity USA, a 35-year-old LGBT advocacy group within The Episcopal Church, is the sponsor of Bishop Christopher visit.
And here is the link:

05 June 2010

The "White Washing" of America

A friend alerted me to this article this morning through FaceBook, so I went to the source.   It seems that some of the "good people" of Prescott, AZ not only don't want to have to deal with non-lily-white people, they don't even want to see paintings of  brown skinned children.


Altered mural fuels racial debate in Prescott

A group of artists has been asked to lighten the faces of children depicted in a giant public mural at a Prescott school.
The project's leader says he was ordered to lighten the skin tone after complaints about the children's ethnicity. But the school's principal says the request was only to fix shading and had nothing to do with political pressure.

Altered mural fuels racial debate in Prescott


It seems that seeing a "person of color" in the heretofore "White" House is too much for many white folks.  If our presidency had looked more like the nation, we should have had 5 African-American presidents by now (12.5% of the population), 7 Latino presidents (15.4%) and 1 Asian (4.4%) .  And this is only as a percentage of  presidents, not of total presidential terms.  The hegemony of the white, protestant male is waning.  (If the Senate confirms Elena Kagen, there will be no protestants on the Supreme Court, only Roman Catholics and Jews.)

I fear that these "god-fearing", gun-toting, gay-hating white folks won't go down without a fight.  Egged on by the Becks, Limbaughs, Hannitys, O'Reilleys, Palins and Bachmans.  The extreme right-wing is taking over the Republican Party while its leaders are complicit or acquiesce out of fear of beint "tea-bagged".  While members of the Democratic Party are speaking out, they are not always doing it with adequate (IMHO) force, again, due to fear of losing seats: local, state or federal.  To quote Edmund Burke:  "All that is necessary for evil to triumph is that good men do nothing."

Remember, Hitler came to power in Gemany without ever having won a parliamentary majority (44%) in March of 1933, the last "free" elections.  I'm just sayin'.

03 June 2010

Been a little busy lately - but it really explains the name Ueber-G

Springtime is a very busy time for me and I've been very amiss in posting.  Here is why and it really explains my "nom de blog", given to me by my friend Counterlight.

I chair the LGBT Life Committee at my home parish, The Church of St. Luke in the Fields in New York City.  While we provide our parish with LGBT events, both educational and social, throughout the year, our main focus is LGBT Pride Month in June.  This job entails organizing a benefit concert by one of our extremely talented choir members, Mr. Todd Frizell, entitled The GayAttitudes - Blessed are the Fabulous; arranging for an Adult Education evening with a relevant speaker, the Rev. Tobias Haller BSG, author of "Reasonable and Holy - Engaging Same Sexuality"; helping to organize a Picnic for over 250 people with CenterKids from the NYC LGBT Center;  finding a preacher and bishop for our annual Festive Choral Evensong on Gay Pride Day; and overseeing the design and production of T-Shirts which help pay for it all.  I must say that I am blessed with a wonderful group of volunteers who have, over the years, made this job a joy. 

This year we are also blessed by a visit from the Rt. Rev. Christopher Senyonjo, retired Bishop of West Buganda, Uganda and chaplain of Integrity Uganda.

More information about St. Luke's Pride Month Events can be found here:


If this were not enough, as a member of the LGBT Concerns Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of New York, I am also organizing our over 200 parishes, along with Integriy NYC Metro and Oasis Newark, to cooperate and march together, with music and a float in the annual LGBT Pride March  (I am reminded of the old joke:  "I don't believe in 'organized religion', I'm an Episcopalian.)  I also have to make sure we raise the $6000.00 to make this happen.

More about the LGBT Concerns Committee of the Diocese of New York can be found here:


I have also recently joined the Steering Committee of Integrity NYC Metro and been named the official Diocesan Organizer for the Diocese of New York for Integrity,  a 35 year old LGBT advocacy group within the Episcopal Church.

This is all in addition to a regular 9-5 job to pay the bills.

I've finally taken a week off from the 9-5 in order to make sure that all is in order for Pride Week, including my mental health.  

Presiding bishop issues pastoral letter to the church

I haven't blogged in a long time (more on that anon), but this is too wonderful not to post.


25 February 2010

You're Beautiful, Like a Rainbow!

I have always loved Cyndi Lauper, from the time she was starting out in the East Village.  (I was there too, complete with safety pins, black mascara, clothes from Cheap Jack's or one of the vintage clothing stores that were everywhere in the early 80s,  and black rubber bracelets, which were actually plumbing gaskets that you could pick up at the hard-ware store for a few cents each.)  I still lover her music and think that she is a far more talented singer than "that other one".  Those of you who were around the East Village in the 80s know who I mean.

Seeing this today brought a smile to my face.   Cyndi has never forgotten where she came from.
Thanks Cyndi.

Construction Begins on "True Colors," New York City's First Permanent Housing for Homeless LGBT Youth

West End Intergenerational Residence HDFC, Inc. has closed financing and commenced construction on an exciting new housing development effort: True Colors Residence, located in Central Harlem.

True Colors Residence will be New York City's first permanent housing facility with support services for 18-24 year old lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth with a history of homelessness. The undertaking was conceived by West End Executive Director Colleen Jackson, and by musical artist Cyndi Lauper and Ms. Lauper's manager Lisa Barbaris. The project entails the construction of a new, energy-efficient multifamily building containing 30 studio apartments, indoor and outdoor community space for residents, and a computer room and resource library. The building is named in honor of Cyndi's Lauper's support for the project and for West End, and references Ms. Lauper's hit song, "True Colors."

True Colors is being financed by a variety of sources, including a construction loan and the purchase of low-income housing tax credits by Citi; construction and permanent lending provided by the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Supportive Housing Loan Program; construction and permanent lending from the Federal Home Loan Bank's Affordable Housing Program, through its member M&T Bank; a grant from Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer; and a loan from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). A portion of the financing was made possible by the Federal Tax Credit Assistance Program. The low-income housing tax credit equity is being syndicated by Richman Housing Resources LLC, a member of The Richman Group of Companies.

"This is a very exciting time for West End," said Colleen Jackson. "After what seems like an eternity, we have finally broken ground and are one step closer to our goal of turning the concept of the True Colors Residence into reality. We extend our sincerest gratitude to all of our funders and collaborators and we send special thanks to Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer for his invaluable support, and to Cyndi Lauper and Lisa Barbaris whose commitment to serving the needs of LGBT youth led to the creation of this residence. "

"Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth living on the streets and in foster care need our support more than ever," said Cyndi Lauper. "In New York City, the True Colors Residence is going to play a big role in providing these young people with the leg up and encouragement they need. I am thrilled that construction has already begun and I am honored to be a part of this important project."

Borough President Scott M. Stringer said, "West End has provided transitional housing for hundreds of homeless families and individuals over the years. Finding safe, affordable housing is step one for New Yorkers working to build a better life for themselves, and the groundbreaking for True Colors will create a refuge for some of our city's most at risk young people, specifically the many homeless LGBT youth in our City. I applaud all of the work done by West End and Cyndi Lauper to design and launch this welcome mat for Central Harlem."

"HPD is proud to be a partner in creating quality affordable housing that will foster an environment to support and empower the LGBT youth who will call the True Colors Residence home," said HPD Commissioner Rafael E. Cestero. "As part of the NYNYIII program, True Colors will help further our shared commitment with the State to provide affordable housing for New York's most vulnerable citizens. This is truly a special project and I thank Citi, West End, Cyndi Lauper, and Richman Housing for their dedication and commitment."

"We at Citi are thrilled to be financing True Colors," said William Yates, a vice president with Citi Community Capital, the community development lending and investing arm of Citi. "Through both our construction loan and through the permanent equity we are providing, Citi is helping to get the building built and to ensure its long-term affordability. True Colors is a unique effort, and Citi is proud to be a part of it."

"We appreciate the effort on the part of all our partners - West End, HPD and Citi - in getting True Colors started," said Bill Traylor, the President of Richman Housing Resources. "It is an important and unique model of supportive housing and like a lot of first-of-a-kind projects it requires all hands on deck to get it launched."

Acquisition and pre-development financing for True Colors was provided by the Corporation for Supportive Housing and the New York Acquisition Fund. Joseph Biber was engaged as Housing and Development Consultant for the project and legal counsel was provided by Hirschen, Singer & Epstein LLP. The building was designed by Edelman Sultan Knox Wood Architects LLP. True Colors is being constructed by C&A Construction Corporation. Support services will be offered through funding from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

For more information contact: Colleen Jackson at 212-873-6300 ext. 331.


West End Intergenerational Residence provides transitional housing and services to homeless young mothers and their children, and permanent supportive housing to formerly homeless and low-income older adults.


19 February 2010

Full Faith and Credit in Louisiana

Federal Court Orders Louisiana to Issue Birth Certificate Listing Both Adoptive Fathers

U.S. Court of Appeals, 5th Circuit, Rules in Favor of Same-Sex Couple Denied Birth Certificate for Adopted Child in Louisiana

On February 18, 2010, Lambda Legal convinced the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans to rule that the Louisiana Registrar of Vital Statistics must respect a New York adoption by a same-sex couple of a Louisiana-born boy.

"We're pleased our son will finally have a birth certificate where he sees both his parents included," said plaintiff and parent Oren Adar. "A birth certificate is more than a piece of paper. It’s at the heart of your identity."

The three-member panel voted unanimously to uphold a lower court ruling in favor of Lambda Legal clients Adar and Mickey Smith, a gay couple who adopted their Louisiana-born son in 2006 in a New York court where a judge issued an adoption decree.

When the couple attempted to get a new birth certificate for their child, in part so Smith could add his son to his health insurance, the registrar’s office told him that Louisiana does not recognize adoption by unmarried parents and could not issue it.

Lambda Legal filed suit on behalf of Adar and Smith in October 2007, saying that the registrar was violating the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the U.S. Constitution by refusing to recognize the New York adoption. The Constitution requires that judgments and orders issued by a court in one state be legally binding in other states as well.

The Louisiana attorney general disagreed, and advised the registrar that she did not have to honor an adoption from another state that would not have been granted under Louisiana law had the couple lived and adopted there.

In December 2009, U.S. District Judge Jay Zainey ruled against the registrar and issued a summary judgment ordering her to issue a new birth certificate identifying both Adar and Smith as the boy's parents, saying her continued failure to do so violated the U.S. Constitution. The attorney general appealed the case, unsuccessfully.

"Even our opponents have said this is a landmark case," said Ken Upton, Supervising Senior Staff Attorney for Lambda Legal, "and we're pleased the court agrees that it's wrong to punish children just because the Registrar doesn't like their parents."


18 February 2010

Bill to Ban US Currency in South Carolina from SCNow

OK.  So this one is not about Texas.

COLUMBIA—State Rep. Mike Pitts has introduced a bill that would require South Carolina to abandon U.S. currency as legal tender.
“The bill basically gives the state the ability to honor gold and silver coinage,” said Pitts, a Republican from Laurens.
“It also gives the state the ability to say we won’t use legal printed tender as currency within the state,” he said.
“I don’t want to go as far as to say it’s laughable,” said Dr. Neal Thigpen, a longtime political analyst and former chair of the political science department at Francis Marion University.
“With all the difficulties that this state is facing, for the General Assembly to take up that kind of proposed legislation, I would just view it as a complete waste of time,” said Thigpen.
Pitts says he’s introducing the bill in order to make a statement about state’s rights.
“The Federal Government has consistently eroded the 9th and 10th Amendments, the sovereignty of the state and the state’s rights, using the Interstate Commerce Act and a variety of regulations,” said Pitts.
He says he would love to see a debate in the Supreme Court about the state’s right to govern itself.
Pitts also says there are other lawmakers who would support the bill.
“If public pressure is out there for other legislators to join this bill then that constituency will make their voice heard and those legislators will become sponsors of the bill,” he said.
However, Thigpen is skeptical and said he believes lawmakers will be cool to the idea.
“Now maybe they won’t belittle it, because the guy is a colleague,” he said, “but I’d be surprised if practically anybody signs on with him on it.”
Pitts does concede it’s unlikely the bill will ever pass.
“I think it has a very slim margin to pass. I don’t think there’s intestinal fortitude in the General Assembly to test constitutionality on any issue,” Pitts said.
He says if the Federal Government continues to spend at the current rate, there’s a chance the U.S. economy could collapse and printed money would become worthless.
He says gold and silver would always have value.
Pitts says the idea isn’t so crazy, because many people thought it wasn’t possible for the Soviet Union to collapse 20 years ago.“I just think that if that’s the most pressing problem that the state of South Carolina faces, then things must be a heck of a lot better out there than I think,” said Thigpen.

Pitts Introduces Bill to Ban US Currency in State SCNow

Sorry, Texas

Honestly, I did not start out this series to make fun of the state of Texas.  As Counterlight pointed out, much progress is being made.  Houston has an openly gay mayor and President Obama did well in most of the major cities.     However, I could not resist this article from the Texas Tribune entitled:

"Meet the Flintstones"

"Nearly a third of Texans believe humans and dinosaurs roamed the earth at the same time, and more than half disagree with the theory that humans developed from earlier species of animals, according to the University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.

"The differences in beliefs about evolution and the length of time that living things have existed on earth are reflected in the political and religious preference of our respondents, who were asked four questions about biological history and God..."

Follow the link to read the whole article.  http://www.texastribune.org/stories/2010/feb/17/meet-flintstones/

16 February 2010

The Anglican Church in Southern Africa Speaks Out Against Homophobia

The Bishops of the Anglica Church in Southern Africa (Angola, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, St Helena and Tristan da Cunha) issue a press release in which they do not only condemn the current proposed legislation in Unganda, but also about the way that LGBT persons are treated in most of sub-Saharan Africa.     

This is indeed progress.

We, the Bishops of the Anglican Church in Southern Africa, meeting at Thokoza Conference Centre, Swaziland, from 8 to 12 February 2010, are disturbed by the debate among Ugandan law-makers of a draft bill that seek to criminalize homosexuality and to prosecute gay people. It even proposes imposing the death penalty, which we regard as a breach of God’s commandment, “You shall not murder,” given in Exodus 20:13. We also deplore the statement, attributed to our fellow Bishop, describing those who are opposed to this legislation as “lovers of evil”. Though there are a breadth of theological views among us on matters of human sexuality, we see this Bill as a gross violation of human rights and we therefore strongly condemn such attitudes and behaviour towards other human beings. We emphasize the teachings of the Scriptures that all human beings are created in the image of God and therefore must be treated with respect and accorded human dignity.

We are therefore also deeply concerned about the violent language used against the gay community across Sub-Saharan Africa. We thus appeal to law-makers to defend the rights of these minorities. As Bishops we believe that it is immoral to permit or support oppression of, or discrimination against, people on the grounds of their sexual orientation, and contrary to the teaching of the gospel; particularly Jesus’ command that we should love one another as he has loved us, without distinction (John 13:34-35). We commit ourselves to teach, preach and act against any laws that undermine human dignity and oppress any and all minorities, even as we call for Christians and all people to uphold the standards of holiness of life.

We call on all Christians to stand up against this Bill so that its provisions do not become law in Uganda or anywhere else in the world. We also call on our President and law-makers to engage in dialogue with their counterparts on the rights of minorities.


Homeschoolers in Texas

Seen at a rally for Rick Perry, the secessionist Governor of Texas who is up for reelection.
I think the photo says it all.

12 February 2010

Texas Scares Me

I must admit to having been in Texas only a few times in my life, mostly for business.  I have had several room-mates from Texas, including a bona fide beauty queen from the Rio Grande Valley, and no, it was a woman and not a beauty "queen".  I've had, and still have, quite a few friends in and from the Lone Star State.  But the entire place just seems to scare the bejesus out of me.

A case in point, The New York Times, in their Sunday Magazine section this week has a long and very in-depth article on the way that school books are chosen in Texas.   Last year the Texas Board of Education rewrote science.  This year they seem to be doing the same to history in order to show that America is and always has been a Christian nation with a God-given purpose.

Below is just an excerpt from the article,  the last sentence is the scariest in the quote, but the article will have you wanting us to pay Mexico to take Texas back:

The Christian “truth” about America’s founding has long been taught in Christian schools, but not beyond. Recently, however — perhaps out of ire at what they see as an aggressive, secular, liberal agenda in Washington and perhaps also because they sense an opening in the battle, a sudden weakness in the lines of the secularists — some activists decided that the time was right to try to reshape the history that children in public schools study. Succeeding at this would help them toward their ultimate goal of reshaping American society. As Cynthia Dunbar, a Christian activist on the Texas board, put it, “The philosophy of the classroom in one generation will be the philosophy of the government in the next.”

And this little gem:

The board considered an amendment to require students to evaluate the contributions of significant Americans. The names proposed included Thurgood Marshall, Billy Graham, Newt Gingrich, William F. Buckley Jr., Hillary Rodham Clinton and Edward Kennedy. All passed muster except Kennedy, who was voted down.

For the full article go to:  http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/14/magazine/14texbooks-t.html

Be prepared to be very, very afraid for the education of this next generation.

05 February 2010

Albania Passes LGBT Rights Bill but falls short of Marriage Equality

Gay rights advocates in Albania are welcoming the partial victory of an antidiscrimination law parliament passed Thursday. The law includes protections for the LGBT community, but it drops a provision to legalize same-sex marriages that drew international attention this past summer.

See the Advocate for the full article.

Albanian Law Drops Gay Marriage Proposal News Advocate.com

If Albania can do this, why can't the USA?
Just asking?

20 January 2010

The Double Standard

If a woman had posed nude for a national magazine, do you think she would have a chance of getting elected to the U.S. Senate?     Just asking.      
If you are not sure what I am talking about, you can google "Scott Brown Cosmopolitan".

08 January 2010

New Jersey Senators and How They Voted on Marriage Equality

Now we know how to vote next election time.  Sadly to say my Democratic Senator, Sacco, was one of the No votes.    A special honor must go to Senator Baroli of Mercer County.  He was the ONLY Republican to vote yes.

YES (14)

Sen. Jim Whelan (D-Atlantic)
Sen. Bob Smith (D-Middlesex)
Sen. Barbara Buono (D-Middlesex)
Sen. Raymond J. Lesniak (D-Union), co-sponsor
Senate President Richard Codey (D-Essex)
Sen. Teresa M. Ruiz (D-Essex)
Sen. Sandra B. Cunningham (D-Hudson)
Sen. Brian P. Stack (D-Hudson)
Sen. Nia H. Gill (D-Essex)
Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen), co-sponsor
Sen. Robert M. Gordon (D-Bergen)
Sen. Nicholas P. Scutari (D-Union)
Sen. Joseph F.Vitale (D-Middlesex)
Sen. Bill Baroni (R-Mercer)

NO (20)

Sen. Jeff Van Drew (D-Cape May)
Sen. Ronald L. Rice (D- Essex)
Sen. John A. Girgenti (D-Passaic)
Sen. Nicholas Sacco (D-Hudson)
Sen. Fred H. Madden (D-Gloucester)
Sen. Shirley K. Turner (D-Mercer)
Sen. Robert W. Singer (R-Ocean)
Sen. Joseph Pennacchio (R-Morris)
Sen. Christopher Bateman, (R-Somerset)
Sen. Tom Kean Jr. (R -Union)
Sen. Jennifer Beck (R-Monmouth )
Sen. Joseph M. Kyrillos (R-Monmouth)
Sen. Gerald Cardinale (R-Bergen)
Sen. Michael Doherty (R-Hunterdon)
Sen. Kevin J. O'Toole (R-Essex)
Sen. Philip E. Haines (R-Burlington)
Sen. Christopher J. Connors (R-Ocean)
Sen. Anthony R. Bucco (R-Morris)
Sen. Steven V. Oroho (R-Sussex)
Sen. Sean T. Kean (R-Monmouth)


Sen. Paul A. Sarlo (D-Bergen)
Sen. Stephen M. Sweeney (D-Gloucester)
Sen. James Beach (D-Camden)


Sen. Diane B. Allen (R-Burlington)
Sen. Andrew Ciesla (R-Ocean)

Lets start looking into some primary challenges.  

07 January 2010

Legislature Leaves New Jersey Supreme Court Decision on Marriage Equality Unfulfilled: Lambda Legal Plans Court Action

(Trenton, January 7, 2010) - Today Lambda Legal announced plans to go back to court to seek marriage equality after the New Jersey Senate failed to pass a marriage bill, effectively ending hope for passage this session.

"The requirement to ensure equality for same-sex couples, established by the New Jersey Supreme Court in its decision in our marriage lawsuit in 2006, has not been met," said Kevin Cathcart, Executive Director at Lambda Legal. "There is enormous, heartbreaking evidence that civil unions are not equal to marriage, and we will be going back to the courts in New Jersey to fight for equality. Too many families are at risk. We cannot wait any longer."

When the Lewis v. Harris case was decided in 2006 two other states, Connecticut and Vermont, had civil union laws. Since then both states have thrown over those laws as unequal - one by court action and one by legislative action - and same-sex couples now have the right to marry there. Same-sex couples can also marry in Massachusetts, Iowa, and New Hampshire. The City Council in the District of Columbia recently passed a marriage equality measure which was signed by the mayor and will likely go into effect in March.

"We applaud Garden State Equality and thousands of advocates for speaking up and working tirelessly for equality," added Cathcart.

Lambda Legal filed Lewis v. Harris in June 2002 on behalf of seven same-sex couples seeking the right to marry. The New Jersey Supreme Court issued its ruling on October 25, 2006, unanimously agreeing that it is unconstitutional to give same-sex couples lesser rights than different-sex couples, but leaving the remedy up to the legislature. In December 2008 the Civil Union Review Commission, appointed by the legislature, issued its report documenting how civil unions fall short of the court-mandated equality for same-sex couples. Just since Thanksgiving, Garden State Equality reports that nearly 4,500 people have come to Trenton to lobby legislators to vote in favor of marriage for same-sex couples.


Because of the way that the original Supreme Court of New Jersey ruling was worded, this just might work.