Ask and Tell
Democratic Congressman Marty Meehan, of Massachusetts, says
he's planning on introducing a bill to repeal the military's "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy in the near future. That's great news, and it'll be interesting to see how the new Democratic Congress will respond to the legislation. Recent polls have shown that most of the military is ok working hand in hand with gay soldiers, so the Congressman at least appears to have some support where it counts.
You can probably guess that I'm against "Don't Ask Don't Tell." It was a way for President Clinton to lift the ban on gay military members (before the policy, the military would ask recruits if they were gay, but now they can't). Unfortunately, President Clinton didn't take the policy far enough and ended up with a botched mess that allows gays to serve as long as they don't tell anyone they are gay. Honestly, does it get any more ridiculous than that? Gays can serve as long as they don't let anyone know in anyway that they might be gay. Oh, and if they get caught, they either get kicked out or they can lie and say it was a "one time" deal and try to get some mercy from the military tribunal. Do we really want to encourage our soldiers to lie?
It's also interesting to note that the full title of "Don't Ask Don't Tell" is "Don't Ask Don't Tell, Don't Pursue Don't harass." From what I hear, there's a whole lot of pursuing and harassing going on, but that's obviously not the part of the program anti-gay folk are concerned with.
The point is that nearly every other military in the developed world allows gays to serve openly and honestly, and they haven't seen any negative consequences. The typical "I don't want to shower with a gay guy" excuses quickly lose weight when you realize that most of the dismissed gay military members were not in combat positions and that when we actually go to war (the time when troops have to live in the closest quarters) the gay dismissals actually start to plummet.
Maybe I'm wrong, though, and there's something I'm missing. What do you think, should we repeal the policy? Keep it the same? Ban all gays from service like we used to?
Sexual Sin--It's not Just for Gays Anymore
A new study just came out that says
that 95% of Americans have had premarital sex. I had no idea. Let's just say I was blown away.
This leads me to two questions. The first one relates to the gay issue--If nearly everyone in this country is committing sexual sins, why is there so much of a focus on gays and their sexual sins? The study makes the "plank in your own eye" theory look even more true. It's just too easy to look at what other people are doing and condemn or question them than it is to look at ourselves. I wonder if a study like this will help people realize that.
The second question is about the Bush Administration's focus on abstinence-only sex education. If 95% of the country is having sex before marriage, I'm thinking we should teach abstinence-only and safe sex lessons side by side. It just doesn't make sense to cater to 5% of the population and let the other 95% learn it on their own.
Gay and Evangelical--Is There Another Side?
The New York Times has an article
out right now about being gay and evangelical in today's society (hat-tip Ex-Gay Watch
for the link). It's an interesting read that gives gay Christians an opportunity to offer their opinion to the public debate, albeit briefly.
I like hearing gay Christians, and especially evangelicals, speak out about the ability for a person to be both gay and Christian. For so long anti-gay folks have been given the power to frame the argument and convince the public that gay people cannot be Christian. I've always said that gay folks need to take a stand and reframe the debate, and proving that there are gay Christians, and even gay evangelicals, is a great way to let the gay voice be heard.
Of course, there are always detractors, and the Times quotes one religion professor that is adamant that homosexuality is against scripture. The article counters by saying that many gay Christians believe the Bible has been misunderstood and misused and the oft-cited anti-gay passages are speaking about idolatry and temple worship rather than homosexuality as we know it today. I'm glad the articles gives an alternate view to the "against scripture" argument, but, I think there's another side to the issue.
I want to be the first to say that I don't know for sure what God says about being gay. I think the idolatry and other similar arguments are certianly more compelling than most anti-gay folks give them credit for, but I'll admit that I think there is a chance that the anti-gay readings of the scriptures could possibly be right. So, where does that leave me?
Well, from a practical standpoint, I'm amazed at how often anti-gay folks talk about how being gay is against scripture. Lots of things are against scripture (and I won't even get into the Old Testament argument, it's too easy to refute). Let's stay topical and mention divorce. The bottom line is that evangelicals and most protestant Christians tolerate divorce, and even have a divorce rate similar to the rest of the country. Sure, they don't celebrate divorce, but no one celebrates hardship. But, they tolerate it. They also tolerate (and celebrate) the marriages of Christians to non-Christians, and they even celebrate second and post-second marriages.
So for me, it's not a matter of whether or not scripture says being gay is wrong (well, certainly that is an issue, but it's something I'm dealing with). This is an issue of why so many Christians seem to think it's fair to tolerate so many martial and sexual sins while condemming another. It's not whether scripture says it's ok or doesn't, it's whether God says it's ok or it's not, and at this point, I haven't seen a convincing argument as to why the church seems to think divorce, remarriage and all of those other issues are ok with God while being gay isn't.
Helping Out a Friend
A friend of mine has been through an extraordinary year fighting cancer and undergoing numerous surgeries to reconstruct her face (doctors had to remove many of the bones in her face to remove the cancer). All the while she has continued to work and try to live as much of a normal life as possible.
Her employer is now launching a campaign to reward her for her amazing courage and determination, and I wanted to pass the word along here as well.
The deal is that Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines is holding a contest to name a travel agent as the Godmother of one of their new ships. This is a very prestigious honor, and the winner will receive free cruises for life, among other things.
The nomination page is here.
After you read her story, please click on the link and write a few words and nominate my friend. She really is an amazing person (And just in case you were wondering, this is definitely not an email hoax, I am actually personally friends with Jennifer).
Here's the email from her employer:
In September of 2005, Jennifer, found a large lump in her upper jaw while brushing her teeth. After being told by several doctors that the tumor was benign, she was surprised to learn from the last physician she visited that it was, in fact, cancer--a rare and aggressive type known as Osteosarcoma.
Because the tumor had grown through her lower jaw bone and into her sinus cavity, surgery was required to remove the tumor and later to reconstruct her face. The procedures were so complex and challenging that the heads of three separate departments at MD Anderson Cancer Center elected to get involved in the operation. In the first surgery, the tumor was removed along with part of her jawbone, sinus and eye socket. During this 14-hour surgery, doctors used bone from her leg and a rib to reconstruct her jawbone, cheek and eye socket. They also removed veins from her neck to supply blood to the new bones in her face and took skin from her leg to graft onto her face.
Jennifer was fortunate to have access to the top surgeons in the country and I am glad to say that this surgery and the others that followed went very well. A few surgeries remain, and when the reconstruction process is complete, Jennifer will have had eight separate surgeries.
But it’s not the misfortune of getting cancer at age 27 and or suffering through a series of painful and dangerous surgeries that makes Jennifer a great candidate for Godmother of the Liberty of the Seas. Rather it is how she chose to react to these incredibly trying events. Jennifer maintained a positive attitude in the face of huge emotional and physical challenges. She remained dedicated to her cruise clients by continuing to sell and service them between chemotherapy sessions and after recovering from each successive surgery. And finally, she has volunteered at Camp Cliff, a camp for families battling cancer, to share her success story with the families and offer hope and inspiration where it is so desperately needed.
To nominate Jennifer for the Godmother of the Liberty of the Seas, click this link:www.cruisingpower.com/libertygodmother
and click the Yes I’d Like To Honor An Extraordinary Women banner to tell Royal Caribbean why Jennifer should be nominated. All nominations must be submitted by 4:00pm (CST) this Saturday, December 9, so please hurry.
Please forward this email to anyone you feel would want to nominate Jennifer.
You will need the following information to submit a nomination:
Agency phone: XXX
Agency address: XXX
Career: Jennifer has been a travel agent for 3 years
Thanks for your support!
I'm Civil Unionized!
Well, really since I live in Texas, I'm not even that (although it is becoming more natural to hear people call J my husband these days). But, I found a link on AmericaBlog
about a grassroots ad campaign encouraging the New Jersey Legislature to give full marriage rights to gays rather than going with civil unions.
The ad is a play off of the recent Mac ads by Apple. I'm ipressed, especially since the ad was made by a group of bloggers rather than professionals. Very succinct and to the point, and it brings up the point that the debate is a personal one, whether anti-gay folks like it or not.
Anyway, Take a look
--they've got me convinced ;-)