I really, really hate how people such as this always lift up, ‘I was raised in a Christian [sic] home.” REALLY? Did you or your father actually READ what Jesus says? Or, did you run to Leviticus or Paul’s Letter to the Romans? As an ordained Christian theologian with a graduate degree from seminary, I can safely say you have Holy Scripture’s take on gays all wrong. Scripture is uniformly self-contradicting throughout. If one opts to lean on Leviticus for reasons to stone gays to death, they then must also look at all the other people who should be stoned to death. Yet, Jesus says, “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.” In that one passage Jesus declares the stoning codes no longer to be in effect. Read “The Sermon on the Mount”, or The Gospel of Matthew, CH. 19. It once was considered okay to hold blacks as slaves because of Biblical passages on slavery. It is time to free the haters of their mantel of hate.
Dear Mr. Schieffer:
I am writing to you today to laud your segment on gay marriage. You kept it well-balanced.
Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council has a terribly flawed position on gay marriage along with a misinformed opinion on marriage itself. The origins of marriage included nothing romantic or even egalitarian. Marriages were arranged by the families. Today, in India and Middle Eastern countries this remains in practice. Marriages originated in order to preserve wealth, status, assurances that progeny would not be orphaned into society; and, rights to property and inheritance. The wife was not an equal partner, another fact that remains true in many countries.
Perkins has been a vocal and militant adversary of gays and gay rights for decades. Perkins has a terribly flawed interpretation of Holy Scripture all the while trumpeting how gay marriage will undermine the tenets of Christianity. Perkins pulls every trick out of his bag, including intentional misrepresentation of facts to gird up his hatred and intolerance toward the gay culture. In addition, Perkins has trumpeted some terribly vile and venomous accusations against gay men that are not only heinous and hideous; they are sweepingly invalid.
If those who oppose gay marriage will pull themselves away for a moment from their thoughts on the sex aspect (which some refer to as “icky”), they will come to an understanding about why marriage is so important, even vital, to gays and lesbians. I return to my posits in the second paragraph: It provides protection of the property and inheritance of the gay or lesbian couple, while also providing unrestricted visitation rights when one of the partners is in hospice or hospital. There are many hideous stories about parents who never condoned their son’s or daughter’s homosexual “arrangement” and prevented the rightful heir to property and monetary inheritance. Or, worse yet, preventing a partner access to their mate while dying in a hospital.
Perkins cannot wrap the Mantel of Jesus Christ across his shoulders, because Perkins is a Christian in voice only; not in action. He fabricates and corrupts Holy Scripture to support his hostility toward gay rights. (Many do, in fact!)
As to that “ick” factor some feel toward gay sex: Gays have not come up with any sexual practices or acts that straights have not thought up and tried already.
Again, thank you for a balanced segment about this very contentious subject.
The Reverend M. Vincent Turner
Hatred runs amok within human culture and society. It is an irreversible and inconvertible condition of the human heart. Quoting from The Gospel of Matthew, 15:19, “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, and blasphemies.”
Logically, Holy Scripture is not wholly necessary to attest to the fact that evil thoughts – and acts – come from the human. Evil is exacted more by men than women perhaps because men have testosterone, the element of being male that drives men toward to the good and the bad.
The instrument of evil is front and center in the United States today. It is being directed fiercely against gay and lesbian culture and community. While the purveyors of such toxicity form a small population of Americans, they are virulent, vocal and highly visible. If one did not know better from the outside of U.S. culture, one could conclude easily that a majority of Americans are anti-gay and against gay rights.
That gays and lesbians by and large are seeking to enter into the rite of marriage has be-come a central factor energizing the right wing antagonisms toward the gay [LBGTQ] community. Holy Scripture is used and abused to underwrite the palpable hatred being telegraphed across the nation by opponents of gay marriage and gay rights in general.
The “why” of this somewhat isolated tsunami of hate has questionable foundations. Self-defined “Christians” who oppose gay marriage and gay rights are quick to run to Leviticus or Deuteronomy, lifting up and parsing the passages that refer to stoning “men who lie with men”. Those same “Christians” will make a fast track to the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. Yet, scholars of any worth and merit will explain all too clearly the story of Sodom and Gomorrah has nothing to do with homosexuality.
Again, those very “Christians” fully ignore Jesus’ admonishing, “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.” In that one passage Jesus of Nazareth tosses out all the stoning codes. Selectively apportioning Holy Scripture to support one’s hate or intolerance commits an injustice and disservice to Scripture. Scripture is not an exact reflection of the human condition or the human activity. Nor is Scripture necessarily an accurate representation of “God”.
The religious foundations used to oppose or undermine gay and lesbian rights are exacted in a way that completely ignore other behavior proscriptions that humans should adhere to and abide by. While Jesus says absolutely nothing about homosexual behavior, Jesus does state that if a man divorces, he is never to remarry. With heterosexual marriages in the United States experiencing a 55% failure rate, one must admit a substantial failure in following Jesus’ instruction on the matter of divorce. Worse, 50% of second marriages fail.
If a heterosexual couple engages in sexual intercourse before marriage, both the man and the woman are to be stoned to death – if one follows the letter of the law of Leviticus. There likely are not enough “stone quarries” in the nation to provide the killing ammunition to carry out that instruction!
Jesus does remark in The Gospel of Matthew, 19, that “not all men are called to marry.” Jesus does not then go on to state those men should not have sex. Perhaps that point is moot, except for the fact Jesus goes on to talk about “eunuchs born from their mothers’ wombs”. Some scholars have written about this particular passage, concluding this to be Jesus’ acknowledgement of men who have sex with men. Eunuchs are not “born”; they are created.
The culture of hate enjoys fertile ground in right wing fundamentalist Christianity. “Love thy neighbor” is applied selectively; very selectively; if at all. Yet, such fervent hatred is not isolated to being against homosexuals. In Ireland, one finds it between Protestants and Catholics. In parts of the United States South, hatred against blacks still thrives with sinister energy. Islamists, at least those who consider themselves conservatively following Mohammad, believe that Christians and Jews should be killed as the “infidels”. In some circles, Jews are hated uniformly.
For all its good intentions, religion has found lucrative applications of hate and intolerance. Hate, it has been written, is a learned behavior. Loving to hate is seen by many as an aberration. Yet, even in Scripture it is stated how evil resides in the hearts of men and women; but, mostly in men.
Hitler convinced his Nazi followers to hate Jews and homosexuals. Yet, there were Jews and homosexuals in the German militaries. The SS and the Brown Shirts were notoriously homosexual. Stalin executed one million of Russia’s most learned intellectuals and military generals. Stalin feared and hated them as his most ardent opponents. The solution: Kill them all.
People hate based on ethnicities; nationalities; races; even family affiliations. The greatest flaw among all humans is the evil that lives within each of us. The greatest challenge for all humans is to override our inner evil and turn toward the consummate good.
In current U.S. culture, hate and intolerance thrive unabated among certain religious leaders who claim to lean on Holy Scripture while leaning only on the passages that support their virulent hatred of homosexuals. The current stable of Republican legislators is brimful of haters. The vile and venomous hatred that flows from their mouths is the most evil form of rhetoric. They incite those with a voracious appetite to “purify” society. That rhetoric represents consummate evil, and inspires those with a limited sense of the boundaries between right and wrong to act out against those they are encouraged to hate. Violent speech attracts fringe elements, elements already poisoned by their own seedbed of hatred and intolerance.
This has become a growing problem within the United States. It has become acceptable, even encouraged among some, to bare one’s soul of evil and to act on it; or to openly celebrate it. The United States has become fertile ground for allowing one’s expressed hate toward others. As a result, U.S. society has become a cesspool of evil. That evil has become palpable in many quarters, some quarters housing our most prominent personalities.
In closing, I am reminded of what my parents taught me from an early age: It you dislike a certain person, or a certain group, leave them alone. It is not your job to try to change them. Seek out and find those you like and those with whom you know you belong. Leave the rest up to God. If only human beings could be and would be so simplistic in our approach to life in general, and “leave it up to God”!
Dear Attorney Mapes:
This Email follows my reading your post about Dieseltec and the dust storm/firestorm the owner of Dieseltec has ignited.
First, I doubt that Bryan Klawiter actually received death threats or the like. Even so, if he did, such threats likely came from straight folk. Or, if one chooses to be more pernicious, from select friends who made the phone calls for him to validate his claim.
You will note from my signature block that I am a ‘Reverend’, ordained in the Episcopal Rite of Ordination. You will also note that I am a Veteran, having served honorably with our United States Air Force in classified Intel gathering overseas. I was promoted to “Sergeant” before age 21 and made Controller, Ops Section at age 21.
What you do not see is that I am a senior executive in the private business sector where I have spent the last 45 years of my life. I have held senior management positions for over 30 years. I have dual degrees and various national certifications.
And, oh! I also am gay. Yes, by God I am a homosexual. It would take years upon years before I would make such a statement openly. I grew up on a small farm in Maryland farm community. Church and Sunday school every Sunday. Choir. Youth leadership. Boy Scouts. Holiday fundraising. I knew somewhere around age 5 that I liked men. I just did not understand how or why I liked them; especially looking at their bodies. I “came out” at age 24 with my first partner who then was 19. We had eight wonderful years together and remained closely bonded until he died in 1996.
I share my brief “resume” with you, because I am not a minority in the gay culture. Thousands if not millions of gays and lesbians devote our lives to excellence, achievement and the common good. If “God” made such a huge mistake in creating homosexuals, why then are we in every family, every culture, every nationality, every ethnicity and every religion? The anti-gay religious fanatics have it all wrong, all the while derogating a valuable segment of society and culture.
Back to Klawiter: I really do not know why such vermin exists in the scheme of life. I do not know why there is so much HATE being spewed out against homosexuals in our society; even by men running for election to the highest office in the land. I read the vile excrement that exits the mouths of some of our most hateful opponents and ask, “Why?” Seriously, “Why?”
I suspect Klawiter of creating a scheme, using gays as his launch pad. Why else would anyone, mechanic or otherwise, who lives in a before-now all but unknown town in Michigan make a banner statement about not servicing gays? Worse, why would he suggest he might actually create a mechanical problem in gay client’s car; a problem perhaps that could lead to death? Where does such insidious, vicious full-depth hate come from? The fact is, from a psychological perspective, Klawiter demonstrates behaviors found commonly in men who are in fear and denial of their own homosexual yearnings. Klawiter is among those lunatics who would go out and “kill a queer for Jesus”, while not even coming close to knowing what Jesus actually taught; or, coming to terms with their own inner demons.
I enjoyed reading your letter. However, your closing it with “May God have mercy on your soul” suggests to me that perhaps you are far more gracious than I might be, even while wearing my collar and Cross of the Resurrection.
Dear Ms. Marcus,
Your column in last Sunday’s Washington Post caused me to pause and reflect.
My family’s history is rooted in the lower Midwest: Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio. My grandfather and great grandfather owned large tobacco farms along the Ohio River. My birth mother was born across the river in Warsaw, Kentucky. I am a Buckeye, the simple result of being born in Cincinnati.
The rising level of gay hate is a cause for great and grave concern. While Governor Mike Pence’s true colors are out there for the world to see, there is a more nefarious crusade at work. That crusade disturbs me immensely because it could lead to widespread, rampant violence against gays and lesbians.
That crusade is the one now being waged by Ted Cruz, Bobby Jindal, James Dobson and Pat Robertson; to name just four. (There are more.) The crusade’s herald is that gays are committing “jihad” against Christians. Robertson has mused how gays are going to force straight men into gay sex. One woman pol has declared that gays are recruiting straight men to convert them to homosexuality.
While the better educated and informed among us might discern the absolute absurdity and unreality of such claims, there is a large segment in this nation who are so dumbed down they will believe every word of it. The O’Connor’s in Walkerton IN are a good example of what I am speaking about.
Their hatred is so palpable and its potential for serious violence against gays, I must wonder if that is in fact what Cruz and company want. The hideousness of their words is beyond frightening.
Worse is how these gay haters and hate baiters lean on Holy Scripture to support their pernicious agenda. As an ordained Christian theologian who spent three years in graduate school studying both Christian and Hebrew Bible, I can assure anyone willing to listen those enemies of gay rights are patently wrong. They parse Holy Scripture to find those passages which support their claims to undergird their messages of hate and destruction.
This concern is deeply personal for me. I have been homosexual since the earliest stages of my life. I simply did not understand it, my powerful attraction to other men, until I was in my teens. I ultimately “came out” in 1968 with my first partner; two years after my Honorable Discharge from the United States Air Force. “Coming out” in 1968 meant coming to terms with one’s homosexuality and then going out to find other gay men to socialize with. “Gay” as a term did not come into common use until roughly my last year as a Sergeant in our Air Force.
The fear of discovery was a constant in my life; less of a concern to partner. I was building a career in the private business where I continue as a senior management executive. I was putting myself through the University of Maryland while working full time and using the GI Bill benefits to help me reach my goal of a business degree, which I realized in 1974. I continue to be very close to the vest about my sexual orientation, having felt the stinging insults and intolerance it can bring forth. Gays are considered “lesser” people, some suggesting we are not even “children of God”.
Perhaps “by the Grace of God” I pass as straight. I have all my life. I love all the “guy things”: fast cars, hot cars, football (pro and college), ice hockey, rugby, soccer, martial arts. But, I also love opera, symphony, Country & Western, Celtic and Gospel.
The fact is, I am not unusual when compared with other gay men. The majority of us really do not have a desire to declare to the world our sexual orientation. I feel no more the need to announce my homosexuality to someone than I would expect them to announce their heterosexuality to me. The only caveat to that premise is how some “straight” folk react when they suddenly learn or discover one is gay: They feel they have been deceived; left out. “Why didn’t you tell us? We don’t care.” Yeah, well. One never quite knows how that one might turn out.
So, back to our Christian heretics: They are broadcasting consummate evil with the potential for serious backlash against gays and lesbians. While I never was subjected to full on violence for being gay, I know about those who have been (mostly gay men as opposed to lesbians). Some have been killed; some left in endless comas; others injured for life. Why? Simply because we enjoy our sexual interaction in a manner that is different from heterosexuals? And, come to think about it, “straights” indulge in many of the sexual plays that gays and lesbians enjoy. A word to the queasy: If you don’t like what you think gays do in bed, then don’t think about it. If you do think about it, it suggests to many psychotherapists that you have undisclosed fantasies.
The Ted Cruzes of our world are the equivalent of homegrown terrorists, using lies and hyperbole to ramp up a message simply overloaded with evil purpose and deception. As a Christian Priest, I take great offense and exception to those who would put a target on the back of every gay and lesbian. The Ted Cruzes of our world are vile, narcissistic purveyors of the most vulgar of assertions using their nefarious messages of hate to fill their war chests. It is time for gays and lesbians and our advocates across this land to make battle ready. As much as some want to force us back into the closet, we “ain’t” going. If this turns into an all-out cultural war, then so be it.
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
Recent national events have left me nothing short of seething with anger and outrage. The treasonous ordeal acted out by House Speaker John Boehner and Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu did not even rise to open censure of Boehner. That was a huge national disgrace and a direct slap in the face of our presidency.
Then Senator Tom Cotton of Arizona and forty-six of his colleagues wrote a letter to the Ayatollah of Iran, informing the Ayatollah that our president really does not have the authority to carry out negotiations with Iran on a nuclear peace deal. REALLY? I call Cotton & Crew the Clan of 47 Traitors of our Nation. In earlier times in our nation, such men would be hanged in public. Today? Nah! Of course not. They likely will receive huge under the table funds from the likes of the Koch Brothers.
Some people think I am hysterical when I rage about how this nation is collapsing from within at every quarter. The so-called “liberals” such as Robert Reich, Elizabeth Warren, Ed Schultz and others really are not liberals. They are preservationists, trying to save and preserve a country that is falling apart because politicians, mostly Republican but not all, have sold us out.
Then one hears about this latest dust up with Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity at the University of Oklahoma, where SAE’s members were photo recorded chanting the word “n—ger” as one of its mantras. A mother of one of the participants reportedly said that her son was too drunk to realize what he was doing. He apologized. Wow! “He’s such a good boy,” she said. I wanted to vomit. Here’s my retort to mama: “Where do you think he LEARNED that racism?” Yeah, mama, that’s right: He learned it from you, papa and all your son’s snot-nosed elitist racist friends. Do you really think all of America is so stupid as to not catch on? Besides, Oklahoma and most of its neighboring or contiguous states are known for race hate, minority hate, gay hate, Jew hate and misogyny. It becomes trans generational because each new generation simply perpetuates the worst of the previous.
In closing I offer my reaction to the 47 enemies of the state. I sent the following email to Maryland U.S. Senator Cardin today. There is a certain tyranny at hand here, and if it is not soon reined in, matters simply will worsen and we as a people will become even more destabilized. It is not what sees upon the surface, but what is convulsing just below that surface.
Dear Senator Cardin:
The band of 47 Members of Congress who wrote their letter to the government of Iran have committed treason. They are traitors to our nation and the U.S. Constitution. Let’s see how FEW Members of Congress have the balls to call them out on their actions as traitors.
There was a time when such acts resulted in hangings. Now, our nation has become so welcomed I doubt there will be so much as censure or condemnation. John Boehner should be included in all such reprimand. But, I do not hold out any hope. The Legislative Branch of our national government is weak and spineless.
The Reverend M. Vincent Turner.
Recent events involving the Islamic State’s barbaric, subhuman beheadings and immolation of men and women compels me to look at faith and religion in general. ISIS, as it is known, regards as the “infidels” all who do not bow to the whim and will of Islam.
As a boy, I grew up on a small farm in rural Maryland. Surrounding our small farm were very large farms, still worked for income. My mother and father worked full time in their own professions. Ours was not a “working” farm, although we had livestock and grew large amounts of produce during the summer months that were canned or frozen for delicious winter meals.
Within easy walking distance from home was a small country church that I joined at the persuading of my parents. That was the 1950s. I joined the church at age ten, attending Sunday school each Sunday. I joined the Boy Scouts, youth leadership and eventually the church choir. Our small white country chapel grew into a modern, large brick parish because our membership was increasing. It also afforded us a nice air-conditioned sanctuary for those extremely hot and humid Maryland summers. Our “little” church had few such amenities, including no indoor plumbing – so to speak.
I joined the United States Air Force one month after high school graduation. I did not attend any church services during my four year stint. Upon returning home, I opted not to return to my home church. My mother was quite dismayed over this. One day, bemoaning the fact that I had not returned to church services, I remarked that I could be closer to God walking through the fields behind our home than most of those folk sitting in the pews on Sunday. To my great surprise, my father concurred. My “embrace” of God had taken place years before as I walked through the fields to evade the alcoholic battles my mother and father waged every weekend. In my young evolving mind, I “knew” there was something better. “Faith” had been imbued upon me at an early age.
It was another twenty years before I again started regular church attendance; this time with a different denomination. A decade later I entered graduate study at a school of theology (seminary) where I was conferred my Master’s degree in 1996. Seven years thereafter I became ordained. Having spent several decades in senior executive management in the private business sector, I have remained in the private sector. Taking the position of priest in a local parish was not what God had designed for me.
As time passed, I came to realize that I am faith and spirit driven; not driven by doctrine or religiosity. My multi-decade journey has brought me to this point, the point where I observe with disciplined focus just how dangerous and hideous religion is, has been and has become.
The Islamic State has introduced a new terror to the world’s religious arena, claiming how “their” God, “Allah” and “their” doctrine and dogma have authorized their violent, barbaric assault on those who do not follow their religion and its dictates. The Islamic State, known by its acronym ISIS, has shocked the world with its hideous acts of slaughter of the innocents; the non-compliant.
The modern world has recoiled in shock by acts that are beyond inhuman. Their religion, driven by barbarity, is surpassed only by their zeal to be violently cruel and brutal. Most of Islam is stunned along with the rest of the world, yet few Muslims are speaking out against ISIS. One must ask if this is out of fear; or, out of Islamic indifference to what many in the West consider acts against God; not in the name of God.
As a follower of the Christian faith I must remind myself how such God-less acts were committed by Christians from the West under the authority of the Roman Church. Those atrocities against the world of Islam and the Eastern Orthodox Christians are treated by many contemporary Christians as, “bygones.” But, wait! Later there was the Inquisition, another period of Christian “cleansing” in the Name of God and Christ. The Puritans then arrived in Colonial America and drowned women suspected of being witches. More recently, black American males (men, mostly) were hanged and burned by white men in hoods proclaiming “God.”
When President Barack Obama recently reminded Americans of our own sordid “Christian” history, Obama was vilified and excoriated by right wing conservative Republicans. They attempted to paint Obama as “soft” on this new Islamist atrocity. In fairness to Obama, he was not diminishing or minimizing the horror of ISIS. Obama was attempting to bring perspective; not endorsement or approval of ISIS’ barbarity.
Meanwhile, the fact is how many American Christians who define themselves as “conservative” are in fact agents of hate. They spew out raging hate toward homosexuals. Some of their comments are as sinister, vile and pernicious as one can imagine. Their hysterical commentary is meant to gin up widespread hate of gays and lesbians, all the while holding themselves up as taking the moral high road; setting gays and lesbians upon the immoral low road. In a different setting at a different time it is easy to see those “moral” Christians resorting to beheading homosexuals and burning them alive, ala ISIS. The Ku Klux Klan [KKK] continues to be a cauldron of vicious and venomous hatred, whose acts until roughly half a century ago were just as God-less as the current- day acts of ISIS.
Such elements represent the tyranny of religion, hideous acts perpetrated in the Name of God. Whose God? Which God? What God? Therein resides a daunting theological question; and, a theological challenge. For Christians who are true followers of the Faith in Jesus (there are fewer and fewer), one scratches one’s head asking, “Whose Jesus is this?”
For some of us, at least, who actually studied Christianity at theology school or in semi-nary, the clear, immediate answer is that no one perpetrating and perpetuating such violence, venom and vituperation against any group can claim Jesus. Whatever happened to, “It’s in God’s hands”? The pulpit bullies who thrive on misrepresentation of the Teachings of Jesus are modern day heretics and hypocrites against whom Jesus warns us. They are ISIS lite.
To kill or maim, threaten or marginalize in the name of some strange and obscure “god” is an affront and an insult to the God of my faith. It is blasphemy. To kill in order to force certain religious creeds upon others defies the Kingdom of God here on earth. Those who commit such atrocious acts are not among the faithful. They represent consummate evil, a vile example of brutal and barbaric heretics and blasphemers who can be found in any religion. There is a failed evolution in those people. They are subhuman, Satanic; lesser even than the animals in God’s Kingdom. Animals do not kill out of joy, pleasure or spite. Religious zealots represent the absolute lowest of the species, barbarians without souls or any essence of holiness. They have no human worth at all.
The Jews have been the least among the killers. Yet, it was “their” God that told them to destroy the Canaanites with sweeping decimation. The men, women, children and all the animals in Canaan were slaughtered, annihilated by the Israelites in order that the Israelites might create their own nation. So, this is the God of “love”? Hardly! Today, modern day Israelis slaughter young Palestinian children and women, along with men. “Their” God considers Palestinian lives to be less than the lives of Israelis. Some Jews today lament how they are “hated”. I have life-long Jewish friends. Like many Christians, I do not hate Jews. It was mostly Christian soldier boys who freed and saved the Jews from the Nazi camps.
Jews do not insist on people converting to Judaism, unlike Islam and certain elements within the Christian culture. Jesus said to His disciples as He sent them out to teach and mission, “If these people do not hear my word, leave them. Shake their dust off your feet and move on.” I wonder at times how Jesus would look upon the early Christian settlers who slaughtered thou-sands of Native Americans, women, men, children all in the name of the “God”. Or, how would He look upon today’s pseudo-Christians, “Christian” in name only?
The tyranny of religion results in tragedy through religion. Acts of violence and brutality so heinous and evil that one simply cannot mentally process their atrociousness do not represent the God I believe in. “My” God is that “Great Spirit” so righteously revered by Native Americans; the great Overseer who may bemoan the imperfections of humans but does not involve It-self in the events of human life.
Many Holocaust survivors abandoned their faith in God, Yahweh, because they believed their God had abandoned them. No God of theirs would subject them to such inhumane, ruthless and callus cruelty. It is easy to comprehend the despair those Jews (and, homosexuals) felt. I cannot imagine any “God” allowing such pernicious acts committed by one human against an-other, including the recent atrocities committed by ISIS through their religious furor and frenzy.
The tragic reality of religion is the horror and havoc it wreaks upon others. Each person must assess and evaluate their own faith; their own religion. How does that faith, that religion, interact with the holiness of other people; including those of a different faith, color, ethnicity, nationality and sexual orientation? Jesus of Nazareth, who some scholars believe studied under Buddha during Jesus’ adolescence, preached love; compassion; harmony; equality; non-judgmentalism. ISIS and those who act out in similar ways, including hate-filled right wing fundamentalist Christians and Palestinian who hate Jews and Jews who hate Palestinians are not people of God. They are people of terror, the Dark Knight, the Great Evil. They are a cancer, a toxic and pernicious presence that must be reckoned with. They are devoid of souls; dispirited carcasses of demonism.
Now some forty years after coming out with my first partner, it challenges me at times to witness the degree of gay-hate that still exists in our country. Long ago I came to the conclusion that being gay or lesbian is as natural to the gay or lesbian as being straight is natural to the straight person. Then, of course, there are the bisexuals who most often are vilified by both sides for not choosing which side they want to be on. Hey! Bisexuals get to taste all the candy in the store. God bless ‘em!
Coming out in the late 1960s with my first partner meant seeking out our own kind. Laws were still on the books that allowed police to arrest gay men in bars if we sat too close, were caught touching one another or displayed any sign of intimacy or affection. I recall when the laws were relaxed sometime around 1970, allowing gay men to dance. Wow! That was a major threshold.
The very ideas of marriage, civil unions and adoption were not even on our lips at that time. We kept close quarters, allowing only those we fully trusted into our secret society. We walked within two worlds, substituting “she” for “he”, referring to our partners as family (cousins, adopted brother, whatever) to keep our secret life safe. In the private business sector where I have spent the last four decades of my life (shortly after a four-year Military stint where I received three written commendations), I was extremely careful because I was building a career. The field I chose to make my life’s work was and still is in many ways homophobic and heterosexist.
Certain Christian groups continue to raise homosexuality as the “ultimate sin”, while foregoing all the other “ultimate sins” scripted throughout the Holy Bible. Last night I watched the HBO program “Real Time with Bill Maher”, my regular Friday night treat. Kirk Douglas, now 95 (God bless him!) was Maher’s guest. At one point during the dialog, Douglas commented on how destructive religion is. As an ordained Priest, I sadly must agree. Jews, Christians and Islamists have committed horrible sins against one another, often because of one’s sexual orientation.
What is it that makes people so angry about gay sex? Seriously, I do not know. In the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 19 while speaking to His disciples, Jesus says “not all men are called to marry.” He also comments about those “who shall be born from their mothers’ wombs as eunuchs.” When those words were spoken, the only acceptable sex with a woman was through marriage (in Hebrew culture; the Romans were out doing their own thing, so to speak.) Jesus did not then stipulate that unmarried men must remain chaste or celibate. As for Jesus’ reference to eunuchs, eunuchs are not born. They are a creation of man. A powerful pamphlet was written 35 years ago by Reverend Bauman, Senior Rector of Foundry United Methodist Church in Washington, DC. Bauman, a heterosexual, wrote “Reflections on the Gay Life”, positing that Jesus’ reference to eunuchs from the womb reflected Jesus’ awareness of homosexuality.
While there continues to be great, positive understanding about gays and lesbians in some of the Christian denominations (I am Episcopalian, “open and affirming”), Southern Baptists and similar fundamentalist sects use Holy Scripture to further their intolerance, ignorance and hatred of gays and lesbians.
I commented to the Priest who ordained me, “If I loved women as much as I love men, I’d have spawned children across the globe!” He laughed hysterically. Yet, it took a long time for me to accept myself as gay even when with my first partner, Chuck. (We were together for eight years; remaining close and good friends until his untimely death in 1996.) I had had sex with a couple women in college, but it seemed all too mechanical. When Chuck and I had sex, it was explosive, powerful, “bells and lights going on everywhere”. I had come into my natural sexual state.
As I survey our contemporary world, now 40+ years later, I am saddened by the persistent negative energy directed at gays and lesbians. True, in some states gays and lesbians can marry and adopt. In some states, one cannot be fired for being gay. (I was driven out of a number three position years ago when the president / owner of that company discovered through the grapevine I am gay.) Some young gays express to me the same fears and anxieties I felt forty years ago! This is progress?
I will never deny the sheer thrill that runs though my body when I see the well developed body of a handsome man. I started liking to look at “man butts” at age four! (Yes, four!) Years later I would learn what those sensations were all about. Of course a man’s endowment is equally tantalizing, but a fine male ass is beauty to behold. And despite what some may claim, the ass and its inner valley are highly erogenous areas of the male body. That’s why gay men, bisexual men and even some straight men enjoy giving over that part of their body to total sexual pleasure.
I would have hoped that by now all the negativity lobbed toward gays and lesbians would have subsided fully. It has not. The President’s repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was a huge step forward. (I was not out while serving our nation.) What so amused me about that topic is how some of the fiercest warriors in history were homosexual or bisexual. And, many Biblical scholars claim the Hebrew Bible story about David and Jonathan is indeed a love story.
So, why all this fuss? Is it really about morality; or some deeply rooted nature in the gay haters that prevents them from evolving? If being gay is so unnatural, why is gayness found in every culture, religion, nationality, ethnicity and family? Of course, I realize my argument will fall silent upon the ears of those who simply believe being gay or lesbian is wrong.
I recall a woman asking me at a dinner party, “How can you be ‘a Man of God’ and also be gay? How do you know you are not defying God?” I replied, “Because I find no wrongness in my gayness. And how do YOU know you are not defying God by being straight, perhaps only to satisfy those around you?” No answer.
Sexual orientation is a very complex set of psycho-physical emotional neurons that travel through our bodies non-stop. How we are “wired” determines how we will enjoy sex. I have four basic rules on sex, which appear to be the most common set of rules: 1) no rape; 2) no incest; 3) no children; and, 4) no animals. As each of us celebrates our own sexuality, whatever that may be and with however many there may be; we should do it with the fullest expression of our sexual self. Guilt and anxiety should be absent. You, I along with the rest of gay culture have absolutely nothing to apologize for; or to feel shame about. Who knows, gays very easily may be “God’s other Angels”, for we bring a very different sexual landscape to the world of sex. Sex is powerful and provocative, the most sensational of our human experiences.
My sexual journey and evolving into my sexual identity has been a pleasant and joyful one. Like most gay men, old or young, the journey is not an easy one. We are faced with the constant struggle of identifying who we are, how to “protect” ourselves from the hostility of the world around us. The deeper struggle comes from knowing who we are and “what” we are sexually, and accepting our homosexual identity.
As I mentioned earlier, my awareness of the male body and the way it excited me started around age four or five. That aspect of who I am was profound. I felt no guilt. I did not understand it entirely when I was not sexually mature. Yet, the sight of a well-built man with muscular, defined buttocks sent chills through me and offered unexplained excitement.
I recall an event that took place when I was in first grade. I had to use the restroom, and one of the other boys in my class had to go at the same time. We went to the “little boys’ bathroom” together. I recall how I found him to be very cute, a young blonde lad like myself. While in the bathroom I asked him if he would show me his “hiney”, his behind. He smiled, dropped his pants and showed me his ass. I likely commented that he had a very nice “hiney” and thanked him.
I was so pleased with this moment that I shared it with my mother. We were sitting in the family car together, while my dad went into a store. While he was in the store, I told my mother about this rather exciting experience. Even today I can see my mother’s body become somewhat stiff, uneasy. When my dad returned to the car she mentioned to him what I had just shared. I cannot remember at this point in my life his exact reaction, but there was no anger or scolding. He did not react in any specific way, but I do recall his taking a deep breath; then a sigh. There was no further discussion about my “adventure”.
As a young boy I looked very much the “Leave it to Beaver” part. Friends have commented on that when I have shown them my picture at age 12, logically several years after that first grade moment. I was in many respects a gentle boy with lots of energy and very talkative. (The talkative trait continues!) Most often I was attracted to other boys my own age, and they usually had nice bodies. Grade school was uneventful in most respects. I recall sometime around fourth grade that one of my classmates and I would watch each other as we pretended to stick pencils in our butts. Those moments seemed innocent enough. But, we enjoyed sharing them without anyone else even seeming to notice. The boys my age with butts that appeared to be very well formed in their clothing always caught my attention. That felt very normal.
Once into junior high school (now called middle school), we started having gym classes as a part of our regular schedule. At the end of each gym class, we were required to shower. Junior high school was when most young lads began to see other boys their age naked. Shyness was absent. Checking each other out was natural. It was casual and discreet. We were young and innocent.
I was particularly smitten by a young man my age named Boris. He was Ukrainian, repatriated with his mother from the Soviet Bloc. I recall Boris having a very nice body, easy on the eyes. But there was another aspect of Boris that I liked. Like me, he was uncircumcised (uncut). There were few of us who were uncircumcised, and I somehow felt affirmed that at least one of the boys was “like me”. Years later I would learn that some boys thought those who were uncut did not have a cock head. So much for naiveté and ignorance about the male body! After all, males are born uncircumcised. That is the most natural state of the male penis.
I just read your article on Storm Front, the hate group. Your article arrived in my Email, as I am a regular recipient of NYT commentaries.
Hate is a powerful, dangerous emotion. As a man who “came out” 46 years ago as gay, I am somewhat familiar with hate. However, “coming out” in 1968 did not mean making a worldwide pronouncement about one’s sexual orientation. It meant, simply, finding others like oneself.
I have worked in the private business sector for 45 years. 30 of those years have been at senior executive levels.
Of my five closest friends, two are Jews; friends for 30+ years.
I suspect the level of hate among those 64% under 30 about which you write will diminish over time. Well, I can hope, right?
When I was 20, a young Airman, I was enthralled with Barry Goldwater. Ask me why today, and I cannot tell you. I do recall that when I told my older sister were I old enough, I would vote for Goldwater. She retorted, “Thank God you are not enough to vote!” I have “evolved” since that time.
Hate is an interesting human dynamic, and why it thrives so much vitality within us humans confounds me. Each person has a “hate switch”. My “hate” is felt toward certain personalities (Ronald Reagan, Dick Cheney, Rush Limbaugh); not toward specific groups. One thing I have noted about haters over the years is when asked, “Why?”, they seldom seem capable of actually explaining their hatred. “I just do!” Or, they may blurt out a litany of reasons that lack all basic and common sense. Their stupidity and ignorance is palpable.
Hate also comes from ignorance and the fear that ignorance foments. The Enneagram outlines ten different personality types, “6” being people who live with consummate fear. In the Germany of the 1930s, over 60% of the German population reputedly lived in and with fear. That is one reason Hitler was so successful. Hitler was astute and intuitive enough to feed into that temperament, even if subconsciously on his part. Why make the Jews the enemy? Frankly, I have yet to resolve that sociopathic conflict in my own mind except to believe the Jews were often seen as — seen as — very wealthy, stand offish and cliquish. As a minority of small numbers, they also were easy prey. Had Ariel Sharon been around at the time, I suspect the outcome for Hitler would have been somewhat different where the Jews were concerned.
I suspect much of the hate about which you write is a direct result of idle minds with too little to do, and too lazy to seek out the facts. “Idle minds leads to the devil’s deeds” is what my late father might have said about all this. I believe hate also generates from hearsay and alpha types who many gravitate toward and fawn over. There are far more “needy” people in the world than there are independent free-thinkers who find neediness repulsive.
Yet, your commentary alerts me to another reality: “Hate” has become the operative word toward many topics. As a longtime supporter and advocate for safekeeping and survival of endangered species, I periodically receive articles about how much certain groups “hate” the wolves; or, any number of other non-human species. In the Gospel of Matthew (I recognize you are Jewish, and hope you do not consider it arrogant of me to raise up a piece of Christian Bible), Chapter 6:6, the passage remarks about how evil resides in the hearts of men. Hate is the most representative of that evil, and the most acted upon. In fact, isn’t ALL violence the result of hate?
I realize I have gone on a bit, but feel the need to share on this one. I hope your eyes did not glaze over too quickly!
Dear Mr. Balz:
The following is written in response to your column in today’s Sunday Washington Post, focusing on low voter turnout.
I consider the crux of this problem to be the fact the larger population of the electorate has become dangerously disengaged because of a reaction, “Why should I vote? My vote won’t count anyway in the scheme of things.” Too many, perhaps a majority of voters, simply believe we do not matter.
The lobbyists, corporations, banks, oil companies, insurance companies and a whole host of other industries all but control the United States Congress, White House; and, more recently, the Supreme Court. I refuse not to vote. That is my right, all the while realizing the political system — legislative, judicial and executive branches — will continue to do as they damned well please because “we the people” are in a situation to change absolutely nothing (without another revolution, which Jefferson suggested should occur “every 20 years or so”).
Add to the frustration of the voter feeling wholly disengaged the gerrymandering of certain voting districts that has occurred during the last few years, and voter “significance” in the system diminishes exponentially. The quote from Plato below fairly well sums up where we are as a nation. Too many members of Congress are beyond a national disgrace, what with their buffoonery, blatant stupidity and how their lack of ethics or morality is fueled by transparent dumbness.
“One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.” – Plato